Federation promotes standards for organic goods in Asean
The private sectors of Asean nations are preparing organic standards to reduce production costs and improve supply chain management.
Vitoon Panyakul, chairman of the Asean Organic Federation, said yesterday that the group, representing six major organic-producing countries, will today introduce the organic standards at Biofach Southeast Asia 2019 and Natural Expo Southeast Asia 2019.
The six countries are Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
Biofach Southeast Asia and Natural Expo Southeast Asia, exhibitions for organic and natural products, began yesterday and run through Sunday at Impact Muang Thong Thani.
This year's edition sees more than 400 booths on display at the event, which is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors and sales volume of at least 72 million baht, up 97% from the previous year.
"Organic-producing countries in Asean still have different standards for organic crops, livestock, aquaculture and processed food," Mr Vitoon said. "The same organic standard in Asean will improve supply chain management and reduce production costs of the producing members in the region."
Overall, Asean's total organic farmland is about 3 million rai or 12-15 rai per farmer.
Most Asean members, except Malaysia and Singapore, are export-oriented organic producers. The most-exported products are materials.
Mr Vitoon said Asean countries should altogether produce fewer mass organic products and make better-quality organic products.
Thailand's organic product market is worth about 3 billion baht. Of the amount, 900 million baht is from domestic consumption and 2.1 billion baht is from exports. Thai shipments account for 0.06% of the world's organic crop value.
The global organic agriculture market is now worth US$104 billion (3.55 trillion baht), with an annual growth rate of 20% on average.
Key organic markets include the US, the biggest market with a value of $45.2 billion, and Germany, the second-biggest market at $10.04 billion.
Mr Vitoon said Asean organic production still faces challenges, including weak supply chain management and a lack of integrated promotion from upstream to downstream.
Climate change from global warming, the long dry spell and higher labour costs also have an impact on organic agricultural production.
"Currently, consumers are still confused about organic products because of too many food labelling schemes such as safe conventional agriculture, good agricultural practice, pesticide-free agriculture, hygienic food, pesticide safe and organic," Mr Vitoon said. "The same organic standards in Asean will help address this confusion to a certain extent."