In a move welcomed by the Organic Exporters Association of New Zealand, the Organics Product Bill was introduced in Parliament. Along with national standards for production, the bill outlines requirements for marketing products as organic. After the First Reading in the Parliament, the bill will be open for public comment. New Zealand’s organic agriculture sector grew 30 percent between 2015 and 2018, to reach more than NZ$600 million.
In early February 2020, Taiwan's Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) has concluded organic equivalency negotiations with Japan and Australia. AFA published two updates to its website that agreements for organic equivalency had been reached with Australia on January 20, 2020, and with Japan on February 1, 2020. The full text of the Japan-Taiwan agreement was also made available. Australia and Taiwan have yet to publish finalized text.
On February 3, the United Arab Emirates sent notification to the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee about their draft “Control Scheme of Organic Inputs and Products.” Initial review of the document indicates that USDA Organic certified products would be able to continue entering the country. The Organic Trade Association is compiling comments from the community until March 19, 2020.
Austria remains one of the leading countries in organic production and consumption. In 2019, about 26 percent of the total agricultural area and 22 percent of all farms were under organic management. Austria has one of the highest per capita expenditures on organic products in the European Union and worldwide. Most important organic outlets are conventional supermarket chains. There are good market prospects for U.S. organic products which are not locally produced.
During a reception of the Bund für Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft BÖLW (Organic Food Production Alliance) in Berlin, Germany, the European Union’s Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said his dream was that all agriculture in Europe would be organic. He is advocating for additional development of organic agriculture in the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
The European Union changed its list of approved certification bodies in third countries for products to be imported into Europe. There are changes to the scope of certification of some certifiers and some certifiers have been added or deleted. In addition, requirements for certificates of inspection have become stricter. Beginning February 3, 2020, port of entry health authorities will only endorse a certificate of inspection if the certifier issued it prior to export. Certain sections of the certificates (boxes 13, 16, and 17) may be filled in with provisional information, since certifiers can not verify all of the data before the product is exported. The provisional information must be confirmed/updated within 10 days, and before the certificate can be endorsed at the port of entry.
January 23, 2020
Although 88 percent of American marketing leaders were confident in their marketing campaigns in China, only half of those surveyed had designed local strategies for the Chinese market, and nearly 20 percent said they had little to no understanding of China’s marketing practices. For example, Chinese shoppers are online more than their US counterparts, and use different platforms and channels to make the e-commerce industry there the largest in the world.
Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture says the country’s scientists can use traditional breeding to develop appropriate high yielding and disease resistant plant varieties without the need for genetic modification. This position statement came as good news for groups that have worked for years to limit use of GMOs in the country’s agriculture sector.
The market for organic products in the European Union grew 18 percent in 2018, to reach $45.4 billion, with Germany and France representing over half the market, followed by the United Kingdom. Changes in EU organic regulations will require a new trade agreement when the current equivalence arrangement expires in January 2026.
McKinsey and Company’s China consumer report 2020: The many faces of he Chinese consumer identified five key trends in the economy, and a desire for a healthier lifestyle is among them. Other trends include: Young consumers in smaller cites are a growth engine; Chinese consumers are sophisticated travelers; Consumers are increasingly discerning and frugal; and high-end Chinese brands are more desirable.
In an April 2019 decision, the government of Australia has effectively allowed the use of the CRISPR gene editing technique for plants, animals and human cell lines as long as foreign genetic material is not used in the process. The decision was implemented October 2019, and is seen by many as bypassing the existing prohibitions against genetic engineering.
The European Union has changed some of the lists of inputs allowed in organic agriculture and processing in Regulation (EU) 2019/2164, which amends Regulation (CE) 889/2008. The following substances have been added:
- Annex I fertilizers: biochar, mollusk waste and eggshells, humic and fulvic acids
- Annex II pest and disease control: maltodextrin, hydrogen peroxide, terpenes (eugenol, geraniol and thymol), sodium chloride, cerevisane and pyrethrins in addition to those from chrysantemums
- Annex IV feed, all with additional annotations: guar gum, sweet chestnut extract, betaine anhydrous
- Annex VIII food additives and processing aids: tara gum powder as a thickener, and for sugar production hop and pine rosin extracts.
- In addition, uses of several substances have been changed and some substances will have to be produced organically after 2022, including tara gum powder, lecithins, glycerol, locust bean gum, gellan gum, arabic gum, guar gum and carnauba wax.
According to the “Saudi Arabia Natural & Organic Food Market (2019-2025): Market Forecast by Types, by Distribution Channels, by Origin, by Regions, and Competitive Landscape" report, the market for organic and natural foods in Saudi Arabia is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.9% from 2019-2025. More than 80% of the organic food in the country is imported, and the Saudi Arabia government has developed a $200 million action plan to support organic farming.
China was slated to begin new organic national standards for organic products and new regulations for certification and use a revised eligible products list on January 1, 2020. Products marketed in China as organic must comply with this standard and accompanying regulations.
The new organic standard includes changes to production and processing inputs, such as adding microbial preparations for control and prevention of animal diseases, adding detergents and disinfectants in plant production, adding requirements for packaging materials for feed products, adjusting lists of food additives, processing aids, and feed additives eligible for organic production and/or processing. The standard also changed the requirements for the labeling of organic conversion products.
The new organic certification rules appear to have streamlined some certification practices. For example, an overseas organic production site which has been certified organic certification for at least four years can be waived from a 12-month organic conversion period before being certified to the Chinese organic standard. And if an organic product is produced or processed overseas, the product sample can be tested by a local testing agency. Site inspection requirements have also been simplified.
Double-digit growth rates for organic food are thanks to retail chains, says the trade director for Farma Świętokrzyska.
The nation’s food market is expected to reach $1.14 trillion within the next five years, says Avalon Consulting, with organic organic food market expected to exceed $2 billion by 2024. Domestic consumption of organic food had a compound growth rate of 13 percent from 2011 to 2018.
New requirements for exporting organic products from New Zealand were initiated December 2, 2019. The two new consolidated documents, Organic Export Requirement: Operator Production Rules (OER: OPR); and Organic Export Requirement Recognised Agencies and Persons (OER: RAP) replace the previous Official Organic Assurance Program standards documents. These requirements apply only to the export of organic products to markets where New Zealand has negotiated an organic trading arrangement (European Union, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United States of America, and China (pending implementation). Operations have 21 months to transition to the new requirements.
From 2008 to 2018, the number of organic product producers increased from 211 to 6660 in Bulgaria. Organically cultivated land increased sixfold in the past seven years. Large retail stores are starting to carry organic products.
The European Union, as part of €200.9 million in promotion activities for EU agri-food products, will devote €47 million for promoting EU quality schemes and features of organic products, including organic, within the EU. Part of the focus of the campaigns will to highlight the high safety and quality standards, as well as the diversity and traditional aspects of EU agri-food products.
India’s state of Uttarakhand enacted its Organic Agriculture Act in January 2020. The Act, aimed at moving the state toward 100 percent organic agriculture and modeled after the steps the state of Sikkim took under its 2014 Agriculture, Horticulture Input and Livestock Feed Regulatory Act, will regulate the sale of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, private agencies, NGOs, traders engaged in export, trade and processing of organic agricultural products would be regulated. With the Act in place, organic certification will be simplified.