Organic database could help businesses grow

It could soon be easier to find organic inputs in Ontario.

The Organic Council of Ontario was recently approved for funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to look into the feasibility of creating a central database of approved organic inputs.

“Finding inputs that are approved for organic production is a major challenge for Ontario’s organic producers and processors, as well as those transitioning to organic,” explains OCO Chair and President, Rob Wallbridge. “The onus is usually on the operator to find organic inputs, and there is no one list of products that is reliable and complete.”

Newly appointed agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says the Canadian organic industry is one of Canada’s fastest growing agricultural sectors. And the investment could provide Ontario organic farmers and businesses with centralized access to information.

Provincial agriculture minister Ernie Hardeman says the central database could also help businesses become more profitable.

The association, which represents over 1,000 Ontario organic farmers and businesses, surveyed non-organic producers in 2017 and found that a lack of access to organic inputs was preventing many from transitioning to organic.

A 2018 report by the Canadian Organic Growers confirmed this finding at a national level.

The funding will help OCO and the Organic Value Chain Roundtable inputs task force conduct a more thorough investigation of the issue and seek buy-in from sector stakeholders.