Australian govt 'anti-organic', says IFOAM leader

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Australian govt 'anti-organic', says IFOAM leader

The president of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) has labeled the current Australian government as 'anti-organic', the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

Andre Leu, who is based in Far North Queensland, told the broadcaster he had been able to meet with national leaders, ministers, royalty and commissioners in his IFOAM role, yet he wasn't able to speak with the Australian government about policy towards the rapidly-growing industry.

"Here I’m lucky to get to talk with an advisor in Canberra," he told the ABC.

"I’ve actually written a letter to the prime minister questioning why this government has really taken an anti-organic stance, and I really want to take that up at prime minister level – I’ve given up with the ministers, I’ve gotten nowhere with them,"

"We’re actually the fastest-growing farming industry in Australia. If you look at ABS figures, Australia is bleeding farmers, we’re losing over 2,000 a year, yet in the organic industry, we go against the trend, we’re growing farmers."

He highlighted the industry was very economically viable with organic produce worth AUD$1 billion (US$1.02 billion) to the Australian economy each year.

"The other thing where the government’s out of touch is we’ve got very good market research from organizations like Newspoll that show 60% of Australians buy some organic products.

"We actually import 60% of that AUD$1 billion (US$1.02 billion) of produce sold in Australia, so in other words there’s AUD$600 million (US$614.6 million) there that Australian farmers could access by import replacement."

He said there was no difficulty in arranging meetings with other parties, yet he wasn't able to get dialogue with the incumbent government.

"The present government has been the greatest disappointment of any government I’ve ever dealt with in my 15 years of actually being on executives of farming organizations."

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