About the author

Jane Parker has a background in dairy farming in Scotland, followed by cotton, lucerne and small crop farming in Queensland. She commenced research and development into herb and spice production in 1992 in order to diversify the local economy and make more sustainable use of available water. She has been involved in the industry since then, particularly in agronomic research and development and supply chain management of broad-acre herbs and spices.

which is not being met at the moment.

To meet market demand, as with conventional growers, organic growers must have integrated pest management strategies in place and meet current quality management program requirements. Program requirements are strict and must be adhered to by all producers, both conventional and organic. Just as incorrect use of chemical controls and subsequent unacceptable maximum residue levels put conventional growers at risk, the organic industry is at risk of high microbial contamination of produce due to the use of incorrectly treated animal manure products.

Several other low-cost producing countries such as India, Egypt, Turkey and Morocco are major exporters to Australia of dried product. This is an entirely different market segment, with imports around $40 million (excluding chilli/garlic/paprika). However, it is a very price limited market, with few niche opportunities for premium-grade, higher priced herbs and spices, and best suited to larger vertically integrated operations.

Products flow into Australia via agency agreements that various importers have with producing enterprises in most parts of the world. The importers decide the quality:price ratios that each commodity segment can bear among their customer base. They organise importation of those lines either on contract for specific customers, or to hold as stock.

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