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Asia: ASEAN Urged to Become Major Organic Producer
Last modified: 2010-05-08 18:16:36

Experts have urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to boost production and exportation of organic farm produce so as to become an organic foods supplier for the world.

Speaking at a workshop on opportunities for organic farm produce development in the Mekong Sub-region held in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 3, Vice President of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Andre Leu highlighted the regional potential. He said ASEAN should gear itself toward that direction in an effort to increase farmers incomes, improve living conditions and contribute to environmental protection.

Demand for organic farm produce was on the rise in 2009 amidst the global economic downturn with China taking the lead. World consumption of organic farm produce and other related products is estimated at over US$50 billion a year.

Thailand and other ASEAN members have great potential in exporting organic farm produce such as rice, seafood, sugar-cane and cassava to Australia under the ASEAN-Australia Free Trade Agreement. As many as 138 countries are engaged in growing organic produce on a total territory of 30.4 million hectares, mostly in Asia and Africa.

In Vietnam, the Government, enterprises and non-governmental organisations have helped farmers grow organic agricultural productssince the mid-1990s, thus improving farmers incomes and reducing thecost of fertilisers. The major markets for Vietnamese farm produce are European countries; meanwhile domestic demand remains limited.

Organic Monitor Comment
ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have the potential to become leading organic food producers and exporters. Many Thai companies have already established themselves as major exporters of organic vegetables, seafood and ingredients. Other Asian producers could follow suit if given the right support and incentives.
Related Report: #7002-40 The Global Market for Organic Food & Drink

05/02/10 Source: Asia Pulse / Organic Monitor

Keywords: Asia: ASEAN Urged to Become Major Organic Producer, Asia Industry Watch, Organic Monitor
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