Biofach Latin America: A Shot in the Arm for Brazil's Organic Products

Biofach Latin America, in Brazil The Latin American version of the most important organic product fair in the world, Biofach Latin America, is scheduled to take place from October 23 to 25 at the Expo Transamérica, in São Paulo. southeastern Brazil The fair should include 300 exhibitors.

The stand of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), with 400 square meters (4,306 square feet), will be a hypermarket of products. They will have fertilizers, cachaça (sugarcane spirit), fruit, leguminous plants, coffee, guaraná, cashew, eggs, tea, honey, brown sugar, milk and dairy products, dehydrated fruit bars, seasoning, jelly, sweets, yogurt, bread, macaroni, rice, mushrooms and frozen food.

There should also be a producer of biodegradable packages made from residues of sugarcane and potato. Products from nine Brazilian states are being exhibited: Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Paraná, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul, as well as the Federal District.

"We have been participating since 2004. The fair is a true opportunity for small producers to show their products, open markets and mainly win clients," says the national consultant of the Organic Agriculture department at the Sebrae, Maria Maurí­cio.

According to her, participation in the Biofach is also a moment of learning for producers, as "contact with consumers is important for the exchange of experiences".

To Maria Maurí­cio, Organic production is also a niche to expand participation of micro and small companies in the purchases of governments, as established in the General Law of Micro and Small Companies, which has been enacted.

She recalls that the ExpoSustentat 2008, a congress on the matter of sustainability that takes place in the sidelines of the Biofach, should bring experience of public schools that are introducing organic products into school meals.

Maria Maurí­cio also pointed out the importance of small farmers being certified. "This is a fair where only certified products may be exhibited. We are going to have 24 associations and 14 companies participating in the stand. All the products are certified." The states of Santa Catarina and Paraná are going to take to the fair a group of 80 small producers interested in business.

The Sebrae organics department has 15 projects all over the country, all inserted in the Guidance Methodology Turned to Results (Geor), whose objective is to reach specific targets at the end of each project. Apart from exhibitors, state units of the Goiás, Espí­rito Santo, Pernambuco, Maranhão and Paraí­ba state branches of the Sebrae are going to participate with groups of technicians.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) disclosed, in May this year, a document suggesting that organic agriculture may be the route to reach food safety. "Organic agriculture is no longer a phenomenon just in developed nations, as it is already practiced commercially in 120 countries, representing 31 million hectares and a market of US$ 40 billion in 2006," according to the document. In the same publication, the FAO forecasts that the market should have a turnover of US$ 70 billion by 2012.

In Brazil, according to figures supplied by the Economic Research Institute Foundation (Fipe) national producers of organic products had revenues of US$ 250 million this year. But the target is to reach 10% of the market by 2010, that is, between US$ 3 billion and US$ 4 billion. There are around 15,000 producers. Most operate in small areas or are inserted in family farming.

Figures supplied by the Family Farming Secretariat (SAF) of the Ministry for Agrarian Development show that 70% of the foods that reach the tables of Brazilians are the product of family farming. It is a market that has been growing around 30% a year. Aware of these figures, the Sebrae has been seeking partnerships to support organic family farming in recent years, be it through technical and managerial support, or through the access to new markets.

In the sidelines of the Biofach 2008, the ExpoSustentat conference is taking place. This year's edition should include the presence of doctor Bent Egberg Mikkelsen. He should discuss the experience of organic food in schools in Denmark. Apart from that, specialists in buying for large companies like the Pão-de-Açúcar group should also participate.

The conference should also discuss the theme of production of organic cosmetics. Specialists at Weleda, L´Occitanne and Suframa should discuss the topic on October 23rd. The complete program may be checked at web address http://www.exposustentat.com.br/08-engprog.htm.

Service

Biofach Latin America 2008
From October 23 to 25
Site: Transamérica Expo center, São Paulo (SP)
www.biofach-americalatina.com.br

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