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China can’t get enough of Australia’s organic produce

By Andrew Schreiber , 05-Jun-2014

China can’t get enough of Australia’s organic produce

Plagued by food contamination scandals and environmental issues, the Chinese middle class is now more eager on certified organic food imports.

Joanne Barber, commercial and marketing executive for Australian Organic, said that there is growing demand in China for Australian organic milk, dried fruits, nuts, citrus fruits, wheat flour and coffee.

Australian Organic, which owns the nation’s largest certifying group, Australian Certified Organic, recently signed an agreement with its counterpart, the Organic Food Development and Certification Centre of China (OFDC).

According to the industry body, the agreement follows years of negotiations and paves a smoother road for Australian exporters, particularly beef and wine producers.

Under the agreement Chinese-trained Australian inspectors can audit businesses on China’s behalf.

Alister Ferguson, chief executive of Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat, said that the agreement is fantastic because it will enable them to access more customers in China, which is a growing market for companies like his.

“It will simplify the process of exporting to China, reducing the red tape that currently exists,” said Ferguson.

The agreement comes after the release of a new IBISWorld report showing that organic farming is one of the Australian economy’s best performing agricultural industries over the past five years.

The report shows organic farming is forecast to record outstanding growth of 50% over the next five years and anticipates Australian farmers will export more food as Asia’s population continues to grow.

According to Australian Organic, the organization is now also working with Austrade and NSW Government Trade & Investment in Shanghai to build more trade links for Australian certified organic businesses.

On the cards is a new program to help businesses that are seeking organic certification, which is expected to boost organic exports to China.

“The new on-boarding program will make the transition to organic farming easier for producers,” said Barber. “We’re getting a lot of interest in certification from businesses that are quite new to the strict requirements of organic farming.”

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