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Organic Agriculture in Oceania 2009

Oceania

Statistics 2007

This region includes Australia, New Zealand, and island states like Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu. Altogether, there are 7'222 producers, managing almost 12.1 million hectares. This constitutes 2.6 percent of the agricultural land in the area and 38 percent of the world’s organic land.

Ninety-nine percent of the organically managed land in the region is in Australia (12 million hectares, 97 percent extensive grazing land), followed by New Zealand (65’000 hectares) and Vanuatu (8'996 hectares). The highest shares of all agricultural land are in Vanuatu (6.1 percent), Samoa (5.5 percent) and the Solomon Islands (3.1 percent).

Market and exports

Growth in the organic industry in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands has been strongly influenced by rapidly growing overseas demand; domestic markets are, however, growing. In New Zealand, a key issue is lack of production to meet growing demand.

Standards and legislation

Australia has had national standards for organic and biodynamic products in place since 1992, and like New Zealand, it is on the third country list of the European Union. It is expected that the Australian Standard, based on the National Standard employed since the early 1990s for the export market, will be adopted in 2009. In New Zealand, a National Organic Standard was launched in 2003.

The first Pacific Organic Standard was endorsed by Pacific Leaders in September 2008. This provides a platform for further regional policy development around organic agriculture.

Government support

There is little government support to encourage organic agriculture in Australia. However, over the recent past, governments have been supportive of the Australian Standards issue. Furthermore, funding is made available to promote an understanding among consumers. In New Zealand, through the establishment of the sector umbrella organization Organics Aotearoa New Zealand and the Organic Advisory Programme as well as other initiatives, there is political recognition of the benefits of organic agriculture.

In the Pacific Islands work on a regional strategy and national plans to lay the foundation of sustainable organic agriculture development in the region is in progress. The Regional Organic Task Force, a technical group representing all sectors and countries involved in organics, was charged with developing the Pacific Standard and will be responsible for implementing the Regional Action Plan. Pacific High Level Organics Group consists of Pacific leaders who have shown a commitment to the development of organic agriculture in the region and provide high level political support and advocacy.

Further reading / source

Organic Farming in Australia by Els Wynen. In: The World of Organic Agriculture 2009.

New Zealand by Seager Mason. In: The World of Organic Agriculture 2009.

Organic Agriculture in the Pacific Region by Karen Mapusua. In: The World of Organic Agriculture 2009.

The World of Organic Agriculture 2009