Organic groups call for more funding

IT may not be quite "anti-organic" but it definitely needs to do more.

Australia's largest organic farming group has called on the Federal Government to deliver more research and funding that would benefit the country's growing clean-food movements.

Biological Farmers of Australia director Dr Andrew Monk said Canberra needed to target research that would benefit all primary producers, not just organic or non-organic farmers.

"We clearly need more directed, collaborative and multi-disciplined work across sectors," he said.

"Australia, compared to the western developed world, does not really fund much organic-specific research at all."

It follows reported comments from another organic food group which took a swipe at Prime Minister Julia Gillard earlier in the week.

International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements president Andre Leu described the Gillard Government as "anti-organic" for its neglect of the industry.

Dr Monk was more moderate in his comments, he said there was still a view organic farming was somehow doing battle with other producers.

"I would not use the word 'anti'," he said.

"There remains a lack of appreciation for the opportunities in the market, granted it is a niche market.

"The opportunity in supporting research more, it will not only benefit primary producers but a shift towards organic processes.

"Anything that moves farming away from synthetic chemicals cannot be a bad thing."

A spokeswoman for Federal Agricultural Minister Joe Ludwig said the government wanted a "vibrant agricultural sector which embraces all primary producers".

"The government recognises the rapid growth of the organic industry and is committed to assisting the industry take advantage of emerging market trends."


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