AUSTRALIA'S INTEREST in organic production was initially motivated by perceived health, environmental and social benefits.
Now the push by state and federal governments is closely linked with the projected global demand for organic food.
The US Department of Agriculture estimates the US, EU and Japanese markets alone will be worth more than $US 100 billion by 2010 and that organic farming will comprise more than half of US agriculture by 2020 if current trends continue.
To sell organic or biodynamic produce, a grower must have his or her production system certified by an organic or biodynamic certifying organisation. Farmers in 130 nations now produce and export certified organic foods.
Australia currently produces $250 million worth of organic food a year and projections indicate that, by 2016, 30 per cent of Australian food will be organic.
According to figures published in support of the initiative to establish an organic Cooperative Research Centre in Australia, the industry objective is to export $5,000 million worth of Australian organic produce in 2010.