Australian Organic calculates the nation’s organic farming industry is worth $2.4 billion with exports now in excess of $700 million a year and growing more than 15 per cent annually on a compound growth rate.
The area of land under certified organic management in Australia totals 35 million hectares – more than half of all the certified organic land area on Earth.
The non-profit industry body responsible for ensuring organic standards are upheld has recently appointed the founder of consultancy Naturalis Advisory, Niki Ford, as general manager.
Australian Organic has also recruited former corporate lawyer, Bernadette Favis, and organic wholefoods expert, Leo Watling to its board.
Mr Watling is the founder of retailer Apples and Sage, while Ms Favis, experienced in governance, joins as a result of recent changes to the AOL constitution aimed at increasing the size of the board to fill specific skills gaps.
Acting chairman, Martin Meek, said her legal background and entrepreneurial experience would be invaluable, and combined with Mr Watling and Ms Ford’s commercial acumen “Australian Organic will really hit its stride this year”.
Women in agribusiness prepare
Planning ahead and being clear on business objectives will be key topics on the agenda at the third Women in Agribusiness International Women’s Day event at Eugowra on March 8.
NSW Farmer of the Year, Julie Andreazza, from Griffith and Binginbar Farms chief executive officer, Nathan Simpson, Geurie, are among the speakers scheduled to share stories of resilience and adaptability, and demonstrate the importance on technology in ensuring a bright future.
State drought co-ordinator, Pip Job, will discus what makes farm businesses resilient during adverse events.
Accounting, bookkeeping and business advisory firm, MBC, is hosting the event, which director, Ben Wright, said would focus on how to be best prepared in business and on the farm after “an intense and difficult 2018”.
Tickets are available via www.mbco.com.au/events before 5pm March 6.
Ag matters to ACCC
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received 114 reports and inquiries about agriculture matters in the second half of last year, mostly about misleading conduct or false representations.
The competition watchdog chairman, Rod Sims (pictured) said it continued focusing on unfair contract terms, including working with several dairy processors to amend potentially unfair terms in their milk supply agreements.
It made a submission to the Food and Grocery Code Review supporting meaningful protection to all suppliers, including farmers, and commenced a wine grape industry market study.
The ACCC also issued its first infringement notice under the 2017 Horticulture Code to a wholesaler who allegedly traded with a grower without a written agreement.
It completed court proceedings against Murray Goulburn and its former managing director, Gary Helou, and against Landmark’s Seednet business for misleading advertising.
Also notable in ACCC’s summary report were exemptions from competition laws granted to a South Australian winegrape grower group to collectively negotiate with buyers, and the DrumMuster scheme to recycle used agricultural and veterinary chemical containers and waste chemical.
Email scams on rise
The ACCC says reports of business email compromise (BEC) scams grew by a third last year and were causing significant financial harm.
They accounted for 63 per cent of all business losses reported to its Scamwatch service.
BEC scams occur when a hacker gains access to a business’s email accounts, or creates a “spoof” of a business’s email so that the culprit’s emails appear to come from the legitimate company.
The hacker then sends emails to customers claiming the business’s banking details have changed and that future invoices should be paid to a new account.