Trust, the heart of the current and future growth of Europe’s organic sector, can only be maintained if production, inspection, and certification standards are kept to their present high levels.
Agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan highlighted the need to maintain high standards when speaking in Beijing at the start of an official EU agri-food promotion visit to China and Japan.
He said organic production, one of the issues discussed in China, combines best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources and the application of high production standards.
Around 10.3 million hectares are cultivated as organic in the EU. This is a full 5.8 % of the utilised agricultural area.
The yearly average growth in surfaces in the last 10 years has been 5.5%. The sector is now worth around €24b, almost 40% of the world market.
Mr Hogan said the EU organic market has grown by 7% per annum for the past five years and its value has doubled over the last 10 years.
Organic food sales in China have also increased from 318bn yuan in 2012 to 548bn yuan in 2014 while exports have grown to €467m in 2014.
“I am convinced that the EU and China can achieve better and deeper co-operation in the area of organic trade. Europe is very proud of the high standards we have set for ourselves and our trading partners.
“Keeping expectations and standards high is what the organic sector is all about.
“This is why so many consumers switch to organic food and drink, and why so many consumers stay loyal to organic brands.
“If we keep working closely together to maintain the highest standards, we can achieve many mutually beneficial results,” he said.
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