USDA reports that Former Northern Ireland Secretary and Brexit advocate, Theresa Villiers, has been appointed Secretary of State at USDA’s UK counterpart, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), by the new UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Her predecessor at Defra, Michael Gove, has been put in charge of Brexit ‘no deal’ planning. And his predecessor at Defra, Liz Truss, has returned as International Trade Secretary, succeeding Liam Fox. With Johnson and his appointments has come a new sense of Brexit urgency, albeit many challenges remain if the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union on October 31, 2019.
"Elevated food safety concerns coupled with evolved taste of the South Korean consumers generate increased demand for imported organic foods. Korea's imports of organic foods amounted to $140 million in 2017, up 8.2 percent from the previous year. The United States remained the leading supplier of imported organic foods to Korea by accounting for 18.6 percent (or $26 million) of the imports in 2017. The bilateral equivalency agreement for processed organic products established in 2014 as well as the Free Trade Agreement established in 2012 between the United States and Korea provides solid foundation for long-term success of American organic foods in Korea."
Thailand, as a leader in rice production and exports, has rapidly expanded its organic rice farming due to the increasing preference for organic food amongst consumers around the world. The country aims to become the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' organic rice production hub with efficient production and product traceability, from grain selection to packaging. To promote Thai rice, the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand, has introduced a project called "Think RICE, Think THAILAND" which highlights organic rice production as well as the country’s national agricultural history, standards and Thai rice quality.
Nine people, allegedly part of an organized crime group, were arrested on suspicion of international large-scale fraud in the production and trade of organic food. Italian authorities arrested eight and Serbian officials arrested one in conjunction with the production and trade of food and beverages made from rotten apples then falsely sold as organic. Illegal assets worth €6 million as well as 1,411 tonnes of adulterated product with an estimated value of almost €5 million were seized.
The government of India is considering reducing costs of certification and transition to organic in order to boost farm income and increase consumer confidence in organic products. India’s organic market is expected to triple from 2018 to 2020.
Land in the United Arab Emirates under organic cultivation practices increased 53 percent in the six months ending in April 2019. In addition over 1110 new organic products were sold there, including vegetables, fruits and dates, meat, poultry and eggs. UAE hopes to boost local food production by 40 percent to address concerns about food security, and diversification of production methods is seen as an advantage.
In 2018, 65 percent of Australian households buy organic products at least yearly, up five percent from the previous year. About 55 percent of Australian organic shoppers look for certification logos, according to Australian Organic. Of households that purchase organic, nearly half report allocating more of the household food spending for organic products. Major purchase drivers include increased awareness of chemicals and the environment.
The United States will have a guaranteed share of the European Union’s 45,000 tonne quota for hormone-free beef. US farmers will have an initial gain of 18,500 tonnes, rising to 35,000 tonnes after seven years.
In order to improve farm incomes, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire are proposing minimum prices for cocoa at $2600 per metric ton. Organic farmers can expect higher rates. The two countries are working together to raise living standards for farmers, and have suspended forward sales of cocoa beans for the 2020/21 season.
Naturland, a certification body and association headquartered in Germany, has developed standards for organic insect husbandry of seven types of beetles, flies and grasshoppers. The insects could be used as fish or livestock food. The standards, the first for insect production in the European Union, promote species appropriate stocking densities, hygienic conditions and use of temperature shock for harvesting.
The organic market in Belgium is estimated at €760 million. Most organic agriculture takes place in Wallonia, which has 77% of all farms and 90% of all organic farmland in the country. Organic meat production has doubled in the last four years, led by chicken and pork production.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency has added 324 new import codes for organic fruits and vegetables to identify organic products and reflect their admissibility requirements for Canada. Additional product codes are expected in the next year.
With a 14.4% growth rate from 2015, organic food and beverage sales in the Middle East are expected to hit $18.4 billion by 2022. Increasing population and an increased interest in halthy food and beverages are spurring the growth, with is evident in the retail, wholesale and food service sectors.
Nestle India will enter the organic food segment with three products, including an organic version of its cereal brand, Ceregrow.
Nestle SA plans to add additional natural and organic products in Brazil, consistent with its plans to cut sugar, sodium and saturate fats in its food. Four flavors of a new organic baby food are among the expanded offerings.
Romania’s government plans to reduce the value added tax (VAT) on organic and traditional food products from 9 percent to 5 percent.
From 2017 to 2018, organic produce sales increased 14 percent to reach a value of 12.9 billion kroner. Growth of 10-15 percent is anticipated in coming years, and may challenge Danish farmers to keep up with demand.
Sales of organic food are growing at twice the rate of non-organic food, yet the market share of organic food is just 2.2 percent, attributed in part to a lack of supply and lack of investment in the organic sector. National standards are expected to foster investment.
Organic chicken sales are expected to reach US $7.5 billion by 2028, with direct sales channels to exceed sales via other channels. Sales are expected to be concentrated in Europe and the emerging economies of the Asia Pacific region.
France has announced it will prohibit all glyphosate use with limited exceptions starting January 1, 2021, the same date at which the new European Union organic regulations will go into effect. Additionally, the Agriculture Minister announced that France plans to cut pesticide, insecticide and fungicide usage in half by 2025, praising organic and biodynamic farming.