1 year ago

ThePartnership no. 16

  • Text
  • Tomato
  • Vitalis
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Organic
  • Breeding
  • Varieties
  • Partnership
  • Zaden
  • Enza

Trends South Asia is

Trends South Asia is catching up Europe & far East in vegetable consumption Eating habits are changing and this creates opportunities for local farmers. Conversely, new growing methods and demographic changes can force producers to make different choices. Using global trends as a starting point, Regional Director Enza Zaden Asia (head office in Penang, Malaysia) Pankaj Malik and Marketing Specialist Hans Verwegen discuss the developments in South East Asia. The working area of Pankaj Malik is large and culturally diverse. His region includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan. These countries are home to more than 600 million people and an estimated more than 10 million farmers”. The other regions in Asia are served by local subsidiaries of Enza Zaden that have existed for a longer period: India, Nepal and Bangladesh are served by Enza Zaden India and China has its own local office. Economic growth Despite the diversity of cultures and eating habits in this vast area, Malik and Verwegen have noted a number of universal developments. “South East Asia has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. Probably more so than any other region, except China”, says Malik. “And the rate at which these changes “Until quite recently, vegetables were a luxury product for most people” Pankaj Malik are taking place continues to accelerate.” These were almost all relatively poor countries, in which agriculture was by far the most important economic activity. Now the manufacturing industries are flourishing, the service sector has really taken off and modern technology - such as internet and smart phones - has permeated into the most remote areas of the region. The strong economic growth in a large part of this vast region is accompanied by rapid urbanisation, increasing individual freedom and greater economic participation by women. The increased prosperity has had a positive effect on vegetable consumption, though consumption per capita is still a lot lower than in Europe, North America and the Far East. “Until quite recently, vegetables were a luxury product for most people”, explains Malik. “People simply did not have the money to put a few hundred grams of vegetables – never mind meat – on the table. However, this is changing as the consumer has more to spend on average.” Young population, rapid changes Most of these countries have a relatively young population, due to the rapid population growth in recent history. “The average age is 33 years and young people are the driving force behind these trends”, explains the agronomist, who was born in India. “As a result, the rate of change is much faster here than elsewhere and these changes have a greater impact on society as a whole. Changes come fast in South East Asia.” Hans Verwegen nods in agreement. “This is all consistent with the global mega-trends, but the impact in South East Asia is greater than elsewhere. It is interesting to see what that means for the regional food cultures and the production and trade chains for fresh vegetables.” 18 | Partnership Partnership | 19

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