Organic food production is rising at a rapid rate in the Asian continent and this is expected to raise consumer interest in organic foods. There are 478,985 hectares of organic farmland In Asia and this is forecast to increase to over 2 million hectares by 2007. Most of the organic farmland is in China, however much of the upcoming growth is expected to be in countries like India. Thailand and Malaysia partly because of government encouragement.
The Asian organic food market was valued at $400 million in 2002 and the bulk of the revenues are accrued from the Japanese market. The country is the economic powerhouse in the region and its consumers have the highest purchasing power in Asia. Although consumer demand for organic foods is expected to continue to rise in Japan, much of the growth is to be driven by an increase in officially recognized organic foods. Increasing production levels in other Asian countries is also expected to fuel the growth in domestic markets of organic foods. There are important organic food markets in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
The Asian region is expected to remain an important source of organic fresh produce like vegetables, herbs & spices for Western European and Northern American in the near term. Apart from organic primary products, there is little organic food production in Asia. There are very few processors of organic foods outside Japan. Most sales are expected to remain from specialist retailers in the future due to limited consumer demand for organic foods.
This report takes the base year as 2002 for all data analysis. Market revenues are In US dollars and they are based on retail sales throughout the forecast period.
There are about 500,000 hectares of certified organic farmland in the Asian continent. Figure 1 lists the countries with the largest areas of organic farmland.
China has the largest amount of organic farmland with 301,295 hectares. Forms of sustainable agriculture, termed ‘green farming’, are very popular in China. This type of farming is similar to organic farming in that low use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers are used. There are estimated to be over 1 million hectares of such farmland in the country
No other Asian country (except Turkey) has more than 50,000 hectares of organic farmland. Important countries are India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Israel. Israel has the largest portion of organic farmland, which accounts for 1.25 percent of all farmland.
Many countries are showing a large rise in organic farmland in the region and it is expected that the Asian region will have about 2 million hectares of organic farmland by 2007. Organic programs in countries like India, Thailand, Malaysia and China in particular are expected to drive much of the growth over this period.