A recent study by Suncorp Bank suggests there is an average 79 per cent difference in price between organic and conventional produce.
Dr Andrew Monk from Australian Organic (formerly Biological Farmers of Australia) said organic produce often simply costs more to produce and distribute.
“Organic food is generally not mass produced and farms are less intensive than larger conventional ones, often giving them different economies of scale. Most organic farms are family-owned and rely on more rural labour for managing pests, diseases and weeds,” Dr Monk said.
“The returns to organic farmers reward them for the great job they do to provide us with products that are produced free of synthetic chemicals. While there are organic farms that match the size of their conventional equivalents, most are smaller and family-owned.”
Unlike low conventional food prices, including the $1 per litre milk which has been an the basis of the major supermarkets’ price wars, Dr Monk said organics reflect a more sustainable way forward for Australian food production.
“This pricing is tearing at the fabric of our communities in rural Australia and consumers buying those products could be unwittingly supporting that unfair pricing approach for those farmers,” Dr Monk said.
“Organic reflects a fair price for farmers who are caring for the environment while producing foods that a growing band of consumers want: foods produced without synthetic chemicals, GMOs, or synthetic weedicides.”