Land in organic agriculture increased to 1.25 million hectares in 2016, up nearly 15 percent from the year before. Approximately a third of arable is devoted to fodder crops. Organic production accounted for 8 percent of outdoor vegetable yields and 10 percent of greenhouse crops. In addition, organic farm revenues were up 9 percent, due in part increases in animal product, especially milk and eggs.
Changes to Chile’s organic regulations will now allow Small Ecological Farmers Organizations to verify organic production as part of participant guarantee systems. Now, in order to be recognized as organic, products must be certified either by a certification body or by a Small Ecological Farmers Organization registered with the competent authority.
With organic food sales up 14 percent at retailers and 21 percent in food service between 2014-2016, more Danish farmers are planning to go organic. Nearly 1000 farmers have applied for funding to convert, which is expected to increase organic farmland in Denmark by 19 percent.
Businesses exporting organic products to the European Union must now use the EU’s Trade Control & Expert System (TRACES) for electronic Certificates of Inspection. The Organic Trade Association recently shared some tips from the program administrators. Here are excerpts:
Updated Control Body / Certifier Codes
- Exporters can now initiate their own requests.
- If you are exporting product but the importer is not in the system you can create the importer. Create the Importer in the System, you would need to know the Importer EU Control Body. In some EU countries, the Importer has to be validated by EU authorities and not CBs (Germany, Italy). As much as possible the best solution is to ask the Importer to create himself/herself in the system.
- At what point can I print the Certificate of Inspection (COI)? (the electronic signature is not working) Once the Control Body has signed the certificate in TRACES (box 18), the certificate must be printed, stamped and signed; this constitutes the original COI and must be presented at the border of the EU with the consignment.
- Who initiates a request for a certificate of inspection? The person selling the goods to the EU? Or the person in the EU buying them? COI can be initiated by either the Exporter (organic exporter Nota Bene) or the Importer (org Importer), but it is issued by the CB. The certificate signed by the CB is then checked at the EU border by EU relevant authorities. Last but not least the First consignee in the EU has to sign also its part ( box 21).
IFOAM - Organics will select a new president and new world board members on November 12, 2017. Meanwhile, Executive Director Markus Arbenz will leave his position mid-2018. A search for a new executive director is underway.
Over the last 10 years, natural cosmetic sales have double in Germany and, along with organic cosmetics, have 8.5 percent of the cosmetic market there. More people are trying natural cosmetics, in part because of the availability at drugstores and via successful retail concepts. Meanwhile, in France, members of the association for natural and organic cosmetics (Cosmebio) report 16 percent increase in sales in 2016. Specialty stores there account for 25 percent of the market, and mail order and online ships account for 12 percent. In the United Kingdom, the Soil Association’s week-long campaign in May to draw attention to organic beauty products boosted members’ sales by 13 percent in 2016 Worldwide, the market for natural cosmetics is expected to grow about eight to ten percent annually.
From January through June 2017, organic food and beverage sales in Sweden were up seven to eight percent, reports organic-market.info. For certain commodities, especially fruits and vegetables, demand outstripped supply.
Argentina has reduced inflation form 47 percent in 2016 to an estimated half as much in 2017, with 2018 rates projected to be 16 percent. As the economy improves, food companies are seeing opportunities in tehe market. Meanwhile, In 2016, health and wellness packaged foods showed stronger retail volume sales growth than packaged foods overall, reports Food Navigator.
Soil Association Certification has taken a closer look at organic supply chains in a new report, ‘Organic Supply Chain 2017: Challenges and Opportunities’ that includes a range of case studies, showcasing brands and businesses with inspiring solutions. The report makes key recommendations for strengthening supply chains, including: making effective use of tech solutions that improve efficiency and confidence; increasing transparency and better collaboration along the supply chain to affirm trust and build market stability; reducing UK reliance on organic imports to support domestic production; and developing understanding of growth markets such as export and foodservice to maximize success.
On September 14, the European Parliament consented to an organic equivalency agreement with Chile, and the European Council adopted the decision on October 9; the agreement will begin three months after both countries have completed all the internal processes. Products from Chile included in the agreement are unprocessed agricultural products produced and processed agricultural products for use as food that have been processed in Chile with organically grown ingredients that have been produced in Chile or that have been imported into Chile either from the EU or from a third country that is recognized as equivalent. EU products in the agreement include unprocessed and processed agricultural products that are produced or processed in the EU.
The European Union (EU) has implemented a new system of electronic Certificates of Inspection for imports of organic products. As of October 19, 2017 only the certificates initiated via the electronic system will be valid. The countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) are also implementing the electronic certification system in TRACES. Norway and Iceland follow the same timeline as EU countries. Switzerland will start using the new system as of January 1, 2018.
Fresh produce, dairy and processed foods are fueling organic sales in the UK, as they are tipped to exceed a record £2.2bn (€2.5bn) by the end of the year.
The Organic Trade Association will host a pavilion at BioFach 2018, February 14-17 in Nuremberg, Germany. Participants must promote certified organic product of 51% or more U.S. origin ingredients by value or volume, and provide provide an organic certificate for each product to be exhibited. Register by October 6; preference given to first time exhibitors.
At the recent IFOAM EU Organic Congress, representatives of the EU and of the organic sector discussed pros and cons of the new European Organic Regulation, which is expected in June 2020.
The Canadian organic market is rapidly expanding, with two in three Canadians (66%) spending at least some of their weekly grocery budget on organic items, up a staggering 10 points from 56% in 2016. Fresh produce remains the most purchased category, with 76 percent of organic choppers choosing fruits and vegetables. Households with children are more likely to buy organic, and 83 percent of millennials purchase organic food. The regular grocery store or supermarket (80%, +5 points from 2016) remains the most popular destination for buying organic foods, followed by mass retailers (39% in 2017 and 2016), and natural health stores (24% in 2017 and 2016).
The Organic Trade Association opened a liaison office in Korea, and will launch a new Facebook page to communicate with Korean consumers beginning September 2017. This channel will educate the trade, consumers and media about US organic products, and increase the awareness of USDA Organic Seal, and organic in general. OTA is seeking samples of US produced, USDA certified organic products showcasing the USDA seal, as well as businesses that may be interested in in-person marketing events in Korea. Samples will be sent directly to highly engaged social media users. Contact Monique Marez at the Organic Trade Association for more information.
A report from the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network examines the barriers to exporting US organic products to Taiwan. Taiwan authorities are working to promote organic production and consumption, and increase exports. New organic regulations are expected by the end of the year, and among the provisions the legislation seeks to pressure countries to recognize Taiwan’s organic products by ceasing recognition of other trading partners’ organic products if they do not recognize Taiwan’s organic system as equivalent within one year. Among the barriers to trade, imported organic products must apply to Taiwan authorities for approval to be labeled as organic even if Taiwan has recognized the exporting countries’ organic standards as equivalent. In addition, Taiwan has a de facto zero tolerance for traces of any unapproved substances.
Organic specialty retailers continue to see higher sales growth (over 20 percent) compared to supermarkets, and have 44 percent of the market share for organic fruits, vegetables, and grocery products. In 2016, France had 2606 organic specialty shops which , increased organic sales area compared to 2015 and were more profitable than conventional retailers.
French shoppers spent €7.147 billion on organic food in 2016, with food purchased for home consumption up 21.7 percent compared to 2015. More than half of the sales value came from fresh produce. Imported organic products accounted for 24 percent of the market, with half of imports coming form other European Union countries, and 43 percent of remaining imports are tropical products or foods not produced in quantity in France. Meanwhile, 89 percent of French people used organic products in 2016, with 69 percent using organic products at least once per month.
The World Trade Organization compiled a list of frequently asked questions about Japan's country of origin labeling requirements. The .pdf includes useful examples.