A 1-on-1 interview with you is a core input to this project. The window is now open to book a time suitable for yourself.
How to connect?
The interview will likely take up to 45 minutes, but can go longer if you feel it necessary to convey your thoughts, insights, observations and suggestions.
A appointment for your calendar will be emailed to you, providing details of how to logon to the Microsoft Teams video-conference. You can download the software or simply use your browser.
Alternatively, you may phone-in using a local WA phone number.
What to expect?
It makes sense that we have a few specific lines of inquiry we want to explore with everyone.
However, there is ample time available to explore any subject relevant to the project that you want to spend some time on.
If due to scheduling constraints (yours or ours), we run out of time, then we can schedule another catch-up.
Unless you let us know you would prefer not, our meetings will be recorded. We will check with you at the start to ensure you are comfortable with this. Its your choice.
With the large number of consultations, it will be helpful for us to be able to go back to important points you raise.
All information is confidential and will not be released to anyone else in an identifiable manner.
The information we collect from you is treated as yours. If you want a copy, we will provide it. If you want us to delete it, we will.
We can't interview everyone in the industry, so all organic and bio-dynamic operators in WA will receive an opinion survey from us.
This survey will ask everyone a standard set of questions about:
We will ask different questions and in more detail in the 1-on-1 interviews. So its important that everyone also complete the opinion survey.
We need to get a detailed understanding of the size of the organic industry in WA. To do this we will ask every operator to answer a detailed questionnaire about their business characteristics.
The Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has commissioned Policy Partners to review the indicators of maturity and quality of the Organic Industry in WA compared with benchmarks in other States.
Organic and biodynamic farming methods aim to produce food using natural substances and processes, leading to an agricultural method with limited environmental impact. It encourages the use of farm-derived renewable resources, the enhancement of biological cycles within the farming system, the maintenance of biodiversity, the preservation of regional ecological balances, the maintenance and increase of soil fertility, and the responsible use and proper care of water. Additionally, organic and biodynamic farming rules encourage a high standard of animal welfare and require farmers to meet the specific behavioural needs of animals.
WA contributes 26 per cent of the total value of Australian agricultural production, but only contributes around 10 per cent to total Australian production of organic livestock, vegetable, fruit and grains. It also contributes around 14 per cent of eggs, 3 per cent of dairy, 10 per cent of sheep, and 5 per cent of beef.
Consequently, organic and biodynamic production could be viewed as significantly underdeveloped in WA, when compared with the rest of Australia.
Furthermore, Australian exports of organic products is growing at around 18 per cent annually. Consequently, WA may be missing out on significant growth potential for its agriculture industries.
Policy Partners will be engaging with industry to consider the opportunities, challenges and options for development of the WA organics industry.
Organic and biodynamic agriculture are production systems that sustain the health of soils, ecosystems and people. They rely on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic and biodynamic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.
There are around 250 operators in Western Australia who have their production systems certified as organic or biodynamic. These producers are distributed across the State, but the vast majority of operators are located within the region bounded by Perth, Margaret River and Albany. They produce the full range of agricultural products, but using organic or biodynamic systems of production.
In 2018, it is estimated that there was around 3½ million hectares in WA fully certified organic. This represents about 10 per cent of total agricultural land. A further 1 million hectares was in the process of conversion to organic (Australian Organic Market Report 2019).
WA contributes around 10 per cent to total Australian production of organic livestock, vegetable, fruit and grains. It also contributes around 14 per cent of eggs, 3 per cent of dairy, 10 per cent of sheep, and only 5 per cent of beef (Australian Organic Market Report 2019). In comparison, WA contributes 26 per cent of the total value of Australian agricultural production (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2018-19).
Organic products grown and manufactured in Australia are exported to 61 countries, with new markets opening up in South America, Oceania, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Key export markets for Australian organic food are the United States, Europe, China (including Hong Kong) and the Republic of Korea. Exports of organic products have been growing strongly, with tonnages up 13 per cent in 2018 (Australian Organic Market Report 2019).
So organic production could be viewed as significantly underdeveloped in WA, when compared with the rest of Australia. And consequently, WA is missing out on significant growth potential for its agriculture industries.
Anecdotal feedback from organic and biodynamic producers in WA indicates that they face significant disadvantages in comparison with conventional producers in the State, but also in comparison with organic producers in other States.
Some of the challenges facing the WA organic sector could be characterised as similar to those facing conventional producers, but the issues are more intense due to the lack of scale, and there are also additional sector specific issues.
DPIRD has commissioned several substantive reports in the area of premium products and market opportunities. The organic sector is not covered explicitly in these reports, but is acknowledged as one being one premium market with significantly marketing opportunities. These good quality reports provide a useful base from which to consider the implications and challenges for the organic sector specifically.
This DPIRD project is seeking a consolidated understanding and quantification of the potential opportunities for growth of organic production and processing in WA based on specific competitive advantage and industry profile.
Ultimately, we view the question as being about how the WA Government can support the organic sector to succeed in harnessing the available market opportunities, and what strategies the industry can itself adopt to succeed.
Synthesis of evidence, analysis, expert opinion, and producer perspectives will underpin this project.
Our report will focus on the insights attained from stakeholders and a strategy for improved sector performance.
Stakeholder engagement will occur once the Covid situation becomes settled, and will include regional workshops and video conferences, targeted interviews with key players, and surveys.
We are engaging with the WA organic industry with assistance from the industry associations in WA - COBWA and OAWA.
These are the themes that we are researching during our project.
The themes aren't exhaustive. As new issues come to light, we will add them as themes to investigate.
If you are making a written submission, you may like to address these themes.
If you are being interviewed, these are the types of questions we may ask you (but each interview is tailored to the person being interviewed).
Do you think there is a significant difference between: