Organic top of the shopping list

johnmcrae_AUSVEG14 2014-06-21_39A3767International buyers were in Australia recently with a shopping list and certified organic produce was at the top of the list.

Fifty retailers from Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are after organic alternatives to their current imports. The lines include carrots, onions, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes and leafy green vegetables – spinach and prepack salad mixes.

Cauliflower, celery, herbs, exotic vegetables, and innovative value added and prepacked solutions were also commodities of new interest.

The buyers met Australian wholesalers and farmers through the AUSVEG Reverse Trade Mission, which provided excellent opportunities for them to establish or enhance relationships with prospective growers.

Tony Croft from Arahura Farm, the largest certified organic carrot grower in Australia, says the Mission was an opportunity to showcase their quality produce and reinforce international trade relationships via one-on-one discussions.

Australian Organic chair, Dr Andrew Monk, presented to the international visitors and says he also had the opportunity to link Australian leading retailers with potential suppliers.

Over 1000 people from the horticulture industry attended the 2014 AUSVEG National Convention in Cairns in June. Australian Organic also exhibited, making it the first time our industry was encouraged to attend the most significant event in the horticulture calendar.

The Convention’s Awards for Excellence resulted in incredible success for the organic industry, with Australian Certified Organic growers acknowledged in every category.

Nathan Free from Alkira Organics took out the Young Grower of the Year Award and large growers of conventional and certified organic produce Mulgowie Farming Company won the Industry Impact Award.

Dr Andrew Monk was shortlisted for the Researcher of the Year Award for the Australian Organic Market Report, which has tracked detailed trends in the marketplace since 2007, and Australian Organic proudly took out the Best Trade Display Award.IMG_1172

The University of Sydney’s Professor Salah Sukkarieh was awarded Researcher of the Year for a field robotic system, which could prove valuable for organic farmers struggling with weeds.

The Ladybird is an autonomous (GPS guided) robot being developed for the vegetable industry. It has an arm for removing weeds, making it a potential game changer – minimising input and maximising output – in agriculture.

The Australian Organic display was popular for farmers who were interested in reducing their chemical use and going organic. Some were looking at making the switch from a business point of view and also for the health of their staff and the environment. Some visitors to the display said they were seeing some great results by trialling organic production techniques and comparing yields and quality.

The Organic Farm Gate and Organic Crop Protectants supported the Australian Organic display, making it one of the busiest displays at the Convention.

The Organic Farm Gate had some fantastic produce on display (which was later donated to Meals on Wheels), prompting growers to stop and admire the weight and size of the sweet potatoes and ask for their growing secrets.

The Australian Organic display was packed with organic industry professionals, creating a fantastic and informative one-stop shop. Interestingly, conventional farmers were surprised they could access many organic inputs and not just cow manure.

This event went extremely well for The Organic Farm Gate and Organic Crop Protectants and if you want to share in the exposure at the 2015 AUSVEG Convention on the Gold Coast contact Joanne Barber (07) 3350 5715 or

Read more about the Young Grower of the Year.