5 years ago

The Partnership no. 7

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  • Enza
  • Organic
  • Zaden
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organic market Trends

organic market Trends Product on an USupward trend As far back as the early twentieth century, British botanist Albert Howard observed that in traditional Indian farming practices, waste was re-used as compost and working with nature was considered of prime importance. In the 1940's, the expertise relating to organic cultivation techniques in the United States (US) started to grow, mainly thanks to the efforts of Jerome Irving Rodale, who is still considered today to be the father of organic farming. However, it would take another three decades before increased awareness of the environment would accelerate the growth of the organic industry. “The rapidly growing global organic market is estimated at almost $ 64 billion in 2014,” says Vitalis Regional Business Manager, North America Erica Renaud. “The US and the EU together account for 97 percent of the global revenue in organic products.” Sustainability and nutritional quality The increased popularity of organic produce among consumers is motivated by multiple factors, of which sustainability and nutritional quality are the most important. Consumers are happy to make their own contribution towards a better environment. They also believe that the nutritional quality of organic produce is far better than that of conventionally produced food. Renaud states: “But health, food safety and quality are also key factors. As organic farmers do not use synthetic chemical sprays to manage their production systems, this produce has had much less exposure to chemical residues. This reduces the risk of exposure to chemicals known to contribute to diseases such as cancer. We also notice that consumers often prefer the flavour of organic produce.” Organic farming in a nutshell But what is precisely the difference between organic and conventional farming methods? Is it only related to the absence of use of synthetic chemical inputs such as fungicides, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that are used in conventional agriculture systems? No, organic farming is much broader than just that and also includes crop rotation, diversity of crops, and often multiple market outlets. Organic farming systems are based upon organically-derived inputs such as compost and animal manure and focus their management on stimulating long-term biological selfregulatory processes to achieve resilience for stable productivity. And this comes with a great challenge. Organic farmers have fewer options to intervene in the short-term when weather and soil conditions are not favourable for optimal crop growth. One of the challenges for this sector is to comply with the Principles of Organic Agriculture concerning health, ecology, fairness and care. Renaud: “Organic growers do not want their varietal assortment options limited through strict organic seed regulatory enforcement. Biodiversity – both broader genetic background and cultivar diversity – is an important component within management practices to enhance stability and resilience in an organic agricultural system. Therefore, they would rather have cultivars suited to their management system than adapt their management to cultivars.” The United States, a growing organic market On a global level about 37.5 million hectares of agricultural land are now managed organically by 1.9 million producers. This means that within a period of slightly more than a decade organic agricultural land has more than tripled. With 32 percent of the global organic farmland, Oceania is the region with the largest area of organically managed land, followed by Europe, 30 percent, and Latin America, 18 percent. By country, the US is third, after Australia and Argentina, as the country with the most organic agricultural land: 2.2 million hectares. The organic production in this country is comprised of both large-scale growers concentrated in specific regions and numerous small scattered acreages across the country that produce in a broad range of environments to service local and diverse food markets. Fatigued by poor quality food A niche industry in the huge food sector just a decade ago, consumer purchases of organic food now account for more than four percent of the $ 760 billion annual food sales in the US. Ten percent of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the US are organic and the turnover with organic products has grown more than fourfold since 1999. Renaud: “The US organic market is the fastest growing global market. The growth rate of organic food sales, which has averaged almost ten percent every year since 2010, has dwarfed the average annual growth of just over three percent in total food sales during that same period. My projection is that the US is fatigued by poor quality food. There is an incipit fear of food quality and safety, and contamination of the food Top 10 The ten countries with the largest markets for organic food (2012): 1. United States 2. Germany 3. France 4. Canada 5. UK 6. Italy 7. Switzerland 8. Austria 9. Japan 10. Spain 18 | The Partnership

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