The Brazilian market for organic food has been steadily growing at 30% a year. That works out to a market worth around US$ 200 million which has become an internatioanal gold standard for its quality, especially in soybeans, coffee and sugar.
On September 8 and 9, for the second straight year, Brazil will host the BioFach Latin America in Rio de Janeiro, which is a version of the European Union organic product fair which takes place annually in Nuremberg.
It is expected that the Rio event will generate business worth US$ 2.7 million (8 million reais), double last year’s fair.
Alvaro Werneck, of Planeta Orgânico, the organization which is running the Rio fair, says that although the production of organic food is rising at over 20% a year, it still is only 0.2% of all agricultural production in Brazil. And it has many benefits: better quality of life for consumers, reduction of soil erosion, better water quality and more jobs.
Wernck admits that organic food prices in Brazil are high, but says that as production expands the tendency is for prices to fall.
Brazil is South America’s biggest consumer of organic products and the biggest supplier for the European market. Exports of organic goods total US$ 30 million and have been rising around 30% annually.
The country has 15 exporters with quality certificates. Brazil will be highlighted at the 2005 Biofach in Nuremburg as the world’s “organic food breadbasket.”
Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Rosinha Matheus underscored that Rio de Janeiro is the first state in Brazil to adopt a policy of incentives for agriculture without the use of pesticides.
The state’s Cultivate Organic Program offers farmers a specific credit line with annual interest rates of 2% and a 60-month repayment period.
Craus remarked that, among Latin American countries, Brazil has made the greatest progress in measures aimed at the cultivation and commercialization of organic products, which should lower production costs and, consequently, consumer prices.
She pointed out, however, that producers still find it difficult to market what they produce. According to her, the lack of information about organic products also hampers sales.
The purpose of the Biofach is to support developing markets through the provision of technical, scientific, and management information to the organic sector in Latin America.
In last year’s edition, the fair exceeded the organizers’ expectations, attracting over a thousand participants.