© Agroferomonas 2020
The V International Conference of Pheromones, Traps, Attractants and Biological Control will be a key event for the world and bring together representatives of all areas of the sector linked to pest control and integrated management of agricultural holdings, with special emphasis on countries from the Southern Cone. After four highly successful editions in Europe, it has become the leading international event in the field of pheromones, traps, attractants and biological control.
Uruguay is the ideal country for the celebration of an international event of this type due to its impulse and commitment to integrated production. Likewise, Montevideo is strategically located in the Southern Cone as a capital capable of attracting and housing hundreds of professionals from the sector from Brazil, Argentina, Chile or Peru.
The event will take place in two technical conferences during May 2020.
A new project outlines how organic and more sustainable farming practices can offer a means to save California, which is currently facing a climate crisis, with rising temperatures, frequent heat waves and wildfires. Years of drought have created limited water supplies and the disruption of normal ecosystems. California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) has released the second part of a research project that investigates how organic farming can represent a solution to some of the gravest issues facing California and the world today. The Roadmap to an Organic California: Policy Report posits that organic agriculture is a solution to the changing climate, economic insecurity and health inequities. By building healthy soils that store carbon and water, by creating jobs and reinvesting dollars into local economies, and by providing healthy food and protecting the environment, the Roadmap concludes that organic is critical to securing California’s future.
The Roadmap outlines tangible policy recommendations such as integrating organic into California’s climate strategy by building healthy soils, investing in water efficiency programmes to secure California’s water supply, investing more in organic research and technical assistance to build farm resilience, and conserving California’s dwindling farmland to maximise carbon capture.
The Roadmap also offers social recommendations, such as supporting organic farmers to comply with regulations and maintain viability, investing in farmworker housing, transportation and pathways to citizenship, integrating organic agriculture and business into economic development planning, and cultivating the next generation of organic farmers with access to capital, land tenure education, financial and legal services.
A lawsuit has been taken out by food activists and farmers in the US against the country’s government over its decision to allow hydroponic operators use the “organic” label. The Center for Food Safety and Farmers from Maine to California state that this decision undermines the integrity” of the country’s organic food label that consumers trust and that organic farmers rely upon.
Until now, federal regulations require organic crops to be grown without pesticides or other harmful chemicals and must also foster “soil fertility”. The claimants argue that as hydroponic plants are grown with their roots in water or air and receive nutrients from solutions created by the operators, they therefore do not foster soil fertility.
A USDA statement supports the use of hydroponic operations.
Sales of organic products in the US reached $52.5 billion in 2018, up 6.3% from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey by the OTA. Organic food sales increased 5.9% to $47.9 billion, outpacing total food sales growth at 2.3%.
Speaking to Foodbusinessnews, Angela Jagiello, director of education and insights at the OTA, said, “Shoppers consistently relate that they choose organic because they believe the product to be ‘better for me and my family’. In 2019, the Organic Trade Association led one of the largest-ever consumer research projects on behalf of organic. Shoppers told us that they value the fact that more than 700 chemicals are prohibited in organic, the strong standards and enforcement that underpin the USDA organic seal, and that they believe organic agricultural practices can play a role in mitigating climate change.”
Fresh produce remains the largest organic category, representing more than 36% of all organic food sales, according to the OTA. In 2018, sales of organic fruits and vegetables increased 5.6% to $17.4 billion, while sales of all fruits and vegetables, including organic and conventional products, rose 1.7%. Organic fruits and vegetables comprise nearly 15% of all produce sold in the United States. Carrots, greens, apples and bananas remain popular picks in the organic section, while organic berries, mangos, papayas, avocados, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are gaining steam.
“Millennials are the fastest-growing demographic of consumers who want what’s best not only for themselves but their families, too,” said Emmanuel Laroche, global marketing leader and vice president of marketing and consumer insights for Symrise. “So, when it comes to foods and beverages, organics are on the top of their grocery lists.”
Where is the organic market headed next?
“Packaging may be a future frontier,” said Jagiello. “There’s a robust organic industry conversation about sustainable packaging. Industry members are working individually and collectively to press suppliers for more responsible, less plastic, alternatives. This will require education for shoppers, and for retailers, but will ultimately be positive for all. Organic will be the tip of the spear on this issue and will catalyse positive change throughout the food industry.”
© Nature Green
Nature Green has recently established in Ukraine, in order to grow organic Shiitake mushrooms. “From the beginning, we have been focused on the production of premium quality organic mushrooms,” said Peter Sutherland, Sales Manager.
“We make our own first-class substrate in house to keep a consistent high-quality harvest, to do this we use the best organic raw materials, advanced techniques and cutting-edge equipment in our facility.” The production is certified with Organic Standards & Global Gap, ISO 22000:2005 and 9001:2015.
Currently they supply shiitake to the local market and export to Europe. The farm is located in a great location the city of Uzhhorod, situated on the western border of Ukraine to the Hungarian, Slovakian & Polish borders. This allows them to efficiently deliver freshness in their mushrooms, they can have delivery’s in any European country within 2 to 4 days.
Camposol is striving to reduce its water footprint, as a sustainable irrigation system is one of the biggest challenges in agriculture. For five years, Camposol has worked in cooperation with SuizAgua to measure the water footprint of its blueberry, avocado and tangerine production. The company also participates in the Blue Certificate programme led by the National Water Authority (ANA), which brings together companies that execute projects to protect water resources and generate shared value through work within the community. In 2019, Camposol was Peru’s first agribusiness company to obtain the certificate. Jorge Ramírez, CEO of Camposol, said: “All these initiatives are part of our strategy to reduce our impacts on the agroecosystem.” Meanwhile, to supplement production in Peru, Camposol is extending its avocado cultivation in Colombia, where it expects to reach 40,000 tons per year by 2025, thus approaching a year-round supply.
Significant efforts are being made to make Trentino’s apple production greener and more virtuous. The 2020 Sustainability Report presented at the conference “Sustainable relations between environment and market” on Friday 21st February at the Cocea auditorium in Predaia (Trento) presented the results of the activities carried out within the Trentino Sustainable Fruit Growing Project. These initiatives include mapping the Trentino area in terms of its biodiversity, certifications, energy use, and distribution of organic crops.
Apot comprises 6,549 Trentino companies employing 1,600 workers on 10,120 hectares, with a total turnover of €360 million. At the conference, the organisation presented the results of its analysis of the residues of the collected samples from its members indicates 98.8% compliance pre-harvest and 99.83% post-harvest. Last season, €34,000 in fines were imposed on those that did not comply. Organic apple production has more than trebled in the past six years and now totals 1,000 hectares. Area cultivated with resistant varieties is also increasing, with this year’s target being 180 hectares, compared to 10 hectares in 2014.
Chemical use in Trentino agriculture has dropped from 50 kilos of active ingredients per hectare (acaricides, plant growth regulators, fungicides, insecticides) in 2012 to less than 40 kg in 2018. Beekeeping is also spreading, with the number of beekeepers rising from 1,500 in 2008 to more than 2,000 in 2019, and the number of hives increasing from 22,000 to 34,000 over the period. All of the companies are GRASP-certified.
It is clear that Trentino’s agricultural sector is well aware now of the importance of sustainability, which suggests that the rapid progress recorded in the past decade looks set to continue.
Job van den Berg on Bioworld stand at Fruit Logistica 2020 // © Eurofresh Distribution
Bioworld started as a vegetable trader and now specialises in growing organic vegetables for the European market. Since its shift, Bioworld has expanded from greenhouse vegetables to open field crops. “Our philosophy as a company is to supply organic vegetables all-year-round,” said Job van den Berg, managing director of Bioworld. Bioworld has invested in 24 hectares of land in the Netherlands and 40 hectares in Spain to meet the growing demand. It also focuses on importing sweet potatoes, avocados, ginger, turmeric, and pineapples.
Currently, Bioworld’s top markets are Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavian countries. The demand for organic products in this region is increasing. “People in these markets are becoming more conscious. The market wants to know where the product is sourced,” says Van den Berg.
Germany remains the biggest market in terms of volume. “German supermarkets helped in the growth of demand. Because of Germany’s size and population, a 7% market share is comparably bigger than a 15% market share in Denmark,” adds Van den Berg. Aside from retailers, Bioworld also supplies to wholesale companies and is expanding to the industrial and the foodservice sector.
Furthermore, the market behaviour in Europe is moving towards health and environmental consciousness. “There are consumers that know organic products are beneficial to their health, and to the environment. That market is growing, and people are willing to pay more, but the price is definitely a factor they consider. Consumers are also demanding less plastic packaging. This is a challenge because some products without plastic seals will have shorter shelf-life. We are developing the right packaging to meet the consumer’s demands,” said Van den Berg.
Along with the growing demand for the product is the challenge of the lower costs of its competitors. Bioworld faces the threat of competitors who do not fully comply with the standards needed for organic production but still brand themselves as organic. Van den Berg remains confident that the company can overcome these kinds of challenges. “Retailers are prioritising reputation and track record. I would say, Bioworld is the biggest company dedicated to and specialised in producing organic produce in the Netherlands,” adds Van den Berg.
Bioworld is now moving forward in improving precision in production and developing packaging alternatives for its products. The firm will also be launching a global campaign next month to promote organic food called “I am Earth”. It also runs a bee conservation programme called Bee Earth.
The combined trade fair of BIOFACH, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food, and VIVANESS, the International Trade Fair for Natural and Organic Personal Care, has been more international and diverse than ever before when it opened its doors at Exhibition Centre Nuremberg from 12 – 15 February. Both shows were setting new records for exhibitor numbers, display area and international focus. A total of 3,792 exhibitors – 292 of them at VIVANESS – from 110 countries has showcased their products to the trade public on a display area measuring 57,609 m2. BIOFACH and VIVANESS 2020 were offering even more diversity than ever, in two additional halls. The approaches that the organic system already offers for resolving urgent issues affecting the future has been discussed by the organic sector as part of the congress theme “Organic delivers!”, while water has been the focus of the special show “All about water – is the basis of life endangered?”. The key trends at BIOFACH this year were “Packaging”, “Vegan 2.0”, “Open Pollinated Varieties” and “Region 2.0”, while VIVANESS has been highlighting “Zero Waste bathroom”, “All about hemp”, “Dental Care” and “Packaging”.
Petra Wolf, Member of the Management Board of NürnbergMesse, said: “With BIOFACH and VIVANESS you get two trade fairs, one date, one venue, four days and a comprehensive overview of the worldwide organic food and natural and organic cosmetic sectors along the entire supply chain. In 2020, the combined trade fair will be more diverse than ever and will emphatically reinforce its role as the international gathering for the sector. With its excellent supporting programme and “Organic delivers!” as the congress theme, this is the starting point from where the future is being shaped by the sector.”