[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[SANET-MG] Asia's organic food industry coming of age
Asia's organic food industry coming of age
By Dominique Patton
12/19/2006- Asia's organic food industry has surged in recent years,
with a marked increase in both consumption and production in the region,
shows a new report.
Asia has been slow to adopt the organic trend but in the last two to
three years countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan have seen
annual growth in demand of 30-40 per cent, said Amarjit Sahota, director
of Organic Monitor.
“Investment from food companies and leading retailers in organic food
ranges has helped stimulated demand, on top of the large increase in
production,” said Sahota.
Organic Monitor’s first report on Asia estimates the region to have more
than 4 million hectares of certified organic farmland (13 per cent of
the global total) compared to a mere 500,000 hectares just five years
ago. The largest increase has been in China, but other countries with
large agricultural sectors such as India and Thailand are also
converting to organic production.
“Countries which never had organic production are getting into it,” said
But unlike western markets, consumption and production does not take
place in the same countries, with a clear segregation between producer
markets and those markets with growing demand for organic foods.
“There is nothing like this clear two-tier system anywhere else in the
The producer countries, which also include smaller producers like
Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, are exporting more than 90 per
cent of their produce, largely to Europe and North America. The products
are certified by more than 100 foreign agencies, giving crops like
fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, cereals and tea the credibility
required for export markets.
China leads in this tier, with 85 per cent of the region’s organic
farmland and now firmly established as a global source of organic
ingredients, thanks to its killer combination of price and quality, said
“About 40 per cent of organic soy used in Europe last year came from
China,” he explained, while an estimated US$200 million worth of organic
foods was exported from China last year.
The domestic market meanwhile only consumes about 10 per cent of China’s
production, mainly because of the high prices of organic foods that are
four to five times the price of conventional products. Ironically the
country has to import a large share of its organic products because it
does not yet produce any processed organic foods.
“Demand for organic biscuits and drinks is growing in big cities like
Beijing and Shanghai but these have to be imported,” said Sahota.
He added that while companies producing organic vegetables are working
up the value chain, it will take several years before the producer
countries can supply the majority of their domestic demand. This creates
opportunity for western producers.
Demand for organic foods will continue to be concentrated in second-tier
countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan with
greater affluence, higher education levels, and smaller or non-existent
agricultural sectors. As a result, these markets are highly dependent on
Demand is being driven by the perception of organic foods as healthier,
with outbreaks of disease like bird flu coupled with food scares
boosting organic food consumption.
Total sales from the region are expected to reach around US$800 million
in 2006, double the value of 2001. The Japanese market remains the most
important consumer, accounting for about 60 per cent of demand.
“In Europe, many people buy organic for reasons of animal welfare or
environmental concerns. But in Asia, health is the predominant, number
one factor,” said Sahota.
Buddhist countries like Thailand and Singapore also tend to favour
organic production because of its perceived harmony with nature.
To unsubscribe from SANET-MG:
1- Visit http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html to unsubscribe or;
2- Send a message to <firstname.lastname@example.org> from the address subscribed to the list. Type "unsubscribe sanet-mg" in the body of the message.
Visit the SANET-MG archives at: http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html.
Questions? Visit http://www.sare.org/about/sanetFAQ.htm.
For more information on grants and other resources available through the SARE program, please visit http://www.sare.org.