Opinion – Vaivém: Production of organic products has accelerated pace in Europe

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The production and consumption of organic products has accelerated sharply in the last decade in the European Union. Production, however, is not enough for the region’s demand, leaving room for imports from other countries, mainly tropical products.

These foreign purchases are mostly made through agreements between countries. In the Americas, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and the United States have agreements with the European Union.

Europeans are important for Brazilian agribusiness, but this organic area could be better used by national farmers.

In 2020, the European Union imported 2.9 million tons of organic products, mainly fruit and vegetables.

Worldwide sales of these foods amounted to 120 billion euros (R$ 669 billion) in 2020. Europeans participated with 37%; North Americans, with 41%; and the Chinese, with 8.5%.

According to data released this Wednesday (18) by DG Agriculture and Rural Development, of the European Union, the area of ​​organics increased by 50% from 2012 to 2020 in the European Union, occupying 9.1% of the total cultivated in that economic bloc.

The area occupied by these products rose to 14.8 million hectares, 20% of the total cultivated in the world.

The study shows that, in addition to the advantages for the environment and sustainability, production costs are generally lower, although productivity does not always reach the standard of conventional products.

Spending on plant protection and nutrition is around 80% lower than on conventional food production. In the case of fertilizers, cost savings range from 45% to 90%, depending on the product and country.

Productivity may be lower, but higher prices compensate for farmers’ income. Hence the importance of continuing research, according to industry analysts. There is a quest for innovation and exchange of information between farmers, consultants and scientists.

Organic production is putting more women at the helm of farms across the European Union and keeping more young people in the countryside.

The study shows that 21% of agricultural properties dedicated to the production of organic products have a manager under 40 years of age.

However, the sector needs to advance further in the production of animals within organic standards. Cattle represent 6% of the block’s total; chickens, 3.6%; and pigs, 1%.

France, Spain, Italy and Germany have the largest organic production areas in Europe. Together they account for 59% of the space dedicated to this activity in the European Union.


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