The 2006-2011 Organic Industry 5 Year R&D Plan has been developed to meet the Australian organic industry’s R&D needs as a part of this rapidly growing global food sector, estimated to be worth A$33 billion in 2003 with forecast annual growth rates between 10-30%. Asia and North America have enjoyed sustained annual growth in recent years of between 20-45%. The Australian organic sector was estimated to be worth A$400 million in 2005. Production in Australia has been increasing between 6-15% pa whereas consumption is growing at 25-40%. The balance is imported.
The 2006-2011 Plan identifies three key objectives for the R&D investments focussed on farming systems, supply chain issues, and the agro-ecological performance of organic farming systems. Associated with these objectives are two key strategies, the Australian Organic Hub, a virtual centre where knowledge is sourced, assessed and transformed into user-friendly information packages and knowledge gaps identified, and the Organic Industry Research Program, which will focus on the research needs of identified priority sectors; grains, dairy, horticulture and meat. A set of performance indicators will guide assessment of the program as it progresses.