Organic Gets Some Respect in Brazil

    Not only developed markets like the United States, Japan and Europe are consumers of organic products.  All around the world, including in the developing nations, supermarkets have started separating shelves for organic products and creating their own legislations regarding the sector.

    The organic product market has an annual turnover of US$ 25 billion worldwide, according to information supplied by the director of the International Agriculture Organization (OIA), José Pedro Santiago. The OIA is a certification organization of international renown.

    Santiago participated Tuesday, October 25, together with other authorities in the sector, in seminar "Organic Products and Foreign Trade", promoted by the Export Logistics Center (Celex), an organization connected to the state of São Paulo.

    According to information supplied at the seminar, currently, between 56 and 60 countries are creating regulations for the domestic organic product market. Brazil has a law, approved at the end of 1999 by the national congress, whose regulation is at its final phase. The enactment of the regulations should increase organic production in Brazil.

    The country is currently already the largest producer of organic soy, coffee and sugar, according to the executive director of the Biodynamics Institute (IBD), Alexandre Harkaly. The IBD provides international certification of organic products.

    "Brazil may, in the short term, become a great consumer and exporter of organic products," stated Harkaly. The idea has already been defended, at other occasions, by the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Roberto Rodrigues.

    Currently, the largest world markets for the products are, in this order, Europe, the United States and Japan. Other parts of the world, however, including the Arab countries, are awakening to the consumption of organic products.

    According to Harkaly, in the Arab world, organic products are starting to gain importance. In Dubai, for example, there is a fair turned to the sector. Egypt also has a region that produces organic products, and Tunisia exports organic dates.

    The coordinator of the Organic Product Export Nucleus at the Celex, Maria José Ribeiro, believes that the Arab world has potential for consumption of organic products grown in Brazil.

    She stated that sales only depend on Brazilian exporters showing their products in the region. "Brazil hosts many Arab descendants, which makes dialogue with the Arabs much easier," she says.

    The organic product market is also growing domestically. Supermarket chain Carrefour, for example, has shelves exclusively for organic products like cheese, fruit, vegetables, sugar, rice, honey and drinks. The idea is being tested in four supermarkets.

    According to the Agribusiness director at the Carrefour, Arnaldo Eijsink, the chain also has its own system for production of organic meat, grapes and honey. The products are sold at the chain and to third parties, on the foreign market. The grape production, for example, is sold out up to the beginning of 2007.

    The country also has other creative ideas being applied to the organic product sector. This is the case with the Eco group, which has created an organic product buffet. The company promotes cocktail parties and buffets with over 70 kinds of organic products, among them drinks like beer and cane spirit.

    For Greater Export

    Focussing on expansion of exports of organic produce in the state of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil, the Celex has created a nucleus turned to the sector. It started being structured around two months ago and its objective is to provide assistance so that organic product farmers, mainly small ones, may sell on the foreign market.

    The nucleus offers businessmen the same services as the Celex: training, information about the export process, help in export bureaucracy and in the search for markets. One of the main actions of the division was the promotion of the recent São Paulo seminar. Within the next 30 days, organic farmers should have their own space at the permanent export product exhibition at the Celex.

    According to the president of the Celex, José Américo Ribeiro dos Santos, the organization currently offers Brazilian products to around 40,000 potential buyers in 99 countries. Organic products should also enter this process. The Imigrantes Exhibition Center, of which Américo is the president, is going to create a fair turned to the sector. The first will take place in March.

    ANBA –  www.anba.com.br

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