How to Grow Ontario Organic
Organic demand is growing.
Driven by an ever-increasing consumer interest in health and nutrition, the organic food market has become "the most dynamic and rapidly growing sector of the global food industry."
In Ontario, demand for organic has surpassed $1 billion. The market is growing at a rate of roughly ten per cent annually, yet only 2 per cent of farmland in Ontario is organic.
Currently, producers who transition to organic must absorb the cost of the three-year transition period. During that time, outputs usually decrease, but producers cannot yet benefit from organic's higher price. This creates a barrier to entry into the organic market. In some provinces, there are funding supports to eliminate this barrier, but in Ontario farmers must simply eat the cost. This puts Ontario organic producers at a disadvantage.
Do you want to grow the Ontario organic food sector?
Share your ideas.
Organic growers in Ontario deserve the same supports as conventional.
Since 2001, OMAFRA has spent a mere 0.4 per cent of its research budget on organic research, yet organic producers are forced to pay over $1.5 million to marketing boards that do not prioritise the needs of organic producers.
Organic operators and the organisations that support them receive funding only on an occasional, ad-hoc basis.
By comparison, US organic producers are exempt from paying into traditional marketing boards. Instead, the US government is developing an organic check-off program that will provide a source of funding to organisations that support the organic sector.
Ontario Organic supply is falling short.
When funding supports for organic differs between provinces, it creates inter-provincial competition. Without stable, dedicated, strategic funding, Ontario's organic industry will fall behind neighbouring jurisdictions. In order for Ontario's organic producers to remain competitive in this growing market, something has to change.
Help Grow Ontario Organic.
The Organic Council of Ontario is looking for your input to determine ways to ensure a bright future for Ontario's organic sector. Please participate in one of our online focus groups to share your ideas about how to Grow Ontario Organic.