CURRENT SITUATION AND FUTURE CHALLENGES FACING THE PRODUCTION AND MARKETING OF ORGANIC FRUIT IN OCEANIA
Australia has almost half of the global area in managed organic production, much of it low productivity land for cattle production. Organic food accounts for 1 percent of the total food market in Australia, however the demand still exceeds production so little organic food is exported. Major supermarkets in Australia tend not to have developed organic products as part of their marketing strategic position, so that demand for organic food remains outside the mainstream food industry. Nevertheless beef, carrots, citrus, wheat and wine are considered target products for priority development in organic production systems within Australia. New Zealand produces organic food on 46 000 hectares, much of it grown for export. Fresh fruit accounts for 71 percent of all organic exports with kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) and apple (Malus x domestica) making up the bulk of this category. Production systems for kiwifruit and apples in New Zealand have moved from conventional to either Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) or organic production systems over the last decade in response to market signals rather than to government subsidies. Organic apple and kiwifruit production systems typically yield less than conventional or IFP systems. Market premiums for organic fruit have until recently compensated for reduced yield. Declining premiums can quickly erode the profitability of current substitutional organic production systems. For kiwifruit, organically acceptable alternatives to hydrogen cyanamide are needed to enhance bud break and flowering and to fumigation for a key quarantine-actionable pest. For apple, the lack of alternatives to sulphur-based fungicides and of acceptable thinning technology limit profitability. Continued expansion of organic apple production will be dependent on development of orchard systems that integrate resistant cultivars and ground cover management systems, that optimise nutrient and water status of trees, and that enhance bio-control and bio-diversity.
McArtney, S.J. and Walker, J.T.S. (2004). CURRENT SITUATION AND FUTURE CHALLENGES FACING THE PRODUCTION AND MARKETING OF ORGANIC FRUIT IN OCEANIA. Acta Hortic. 638, 387-396
apple, kiwifruit, organic production, market premium, physiological sustainability