Organics booming in Lebanon, India, Romania
With European Union certification in hand, Biomass Organic Products has opened the first local organic dairy products factory in Lebanon, believed to be one of the first in the Middle East.
The project has the backing of the Lebanese Agriculture Minister, Dr Hussein El Hajj Hassan and will initially focus on a range of organic cheese and yogurts.
Biomass has previously focused on organic herbs, fruit drinks, fruits, vegetables and eggs, most of which is sold locally to increasingly interested consumers in cities like Beirut.
The products conform to the European Regulation for Organic Farming and have been certified by the Italian company, IMC.
Forecasts from Romania indicate strong growth over many years, albeit from a relatively small base, with local the local market valued at around €50m set for 20% growth in 2011, according to a report in the Romanian publication, Business Review.
The sector is benefitting from European Union funding, greater networking between organic producers, international investment in the sector and boosted demand domestically and from other markets.
In 2010, Romania imported organic food products worth €35m, with exports at €150m, according to Marian Cioceanu, president of Bio Romania.
Organic farms account for 260,000 hectares of land or 2% of total farm production – 15 times that of 2001, using Agriculture Ministry data.
Similarly in India,industry group Assocham said increasing demand for certified organic items like basmati rice, cereals, spices, tea, fruits and herbal medicines would drive growth to Rs 10,000 crore in 2015 – four times current levels.
"The Indian organic farming is expected to grow mainly due to increasing awareness among people regarding these products and rising income levels," said Assocham secretary general D S Rawat.