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A lot of activity in the organic sector in Brazil

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The Brazilian government has recently been clearly signalling its intention to take a lead in protecting the climate. Promoting organic agriculture and expanding the organic market go hand in hand with this aspiration. The government’s introduction of a state organic logo and its ambitious plans for organic catering at the World Cup in 2014 could mean huge progress for the organic sector. Ideas were discussed at BioFach América Latina, and the growing professionalism of the Brazilian organic sector is to be seen on all sides.
(Picture: BioFach América Latina and ExpoSustentat reflected the professionalisation of Brazil’s organic market)
Many of the speakers at the opening ceremony of the double trade fair BioFach/ExpoSustentat expressed the urgency with which politicians and the public debate are now addressing sustainability and organic agriculture. The representative of the government, Samuel Pinheros, emphasised the point that environmental problems and climate change were a far greater crisis than the economic crisis. He concluded, therefore, that it was high time to take determined steps to find solutions to these problems. (Picture: At the opening ceremony a number of politicians spoke in favour of converting to organic)

The Organic Law and the state logo for organic products (passed by the government in 2009) are big steps forward. The plans for green games, the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, are creating the right incentive for a rapid expansion of the organic market in Brazil, and exports will no doubt benefit from this momentum too. Secretary of State Joe Carlo Valle (picture) declared that the government had recognised the strategic importance of the organic sector and would drive forward the conversion to organic, particularly in respect of the coming mega events. In his words: “We have a vision of sustainability and ecology.” Gunnar Rundgren, the representative of IFOAM, confirmed the point that organic agriculture was the best way of achieving sustainability and climate protection: “Organic agriculture is the best method worldwide of combating climate change.”

The Minister of Agriculture in the federal state Sao Paulo said that you could see evidence every day that the organic sector was no longer a niche industry and now had real economic importance. 2014 would play a significant role but was at the same time a huge challenge. He was, however, convinced that the future belonged to organic agriculture and organic products. A new state-run eco internet portalto promote organic consumption among consumers in Brazil is evidence of the government’s desire to lend more support to the domestic market. (Picture: Full information on the organic sector is available to consumers on the new state-run internet portal)

Ligia Amorim, the CEO of NürnbergMesse Brazil that was founded in 2009, regards it as her mission to encourage the potential of the eco sector through the two trade fairs held in Sao Paulo. Together with Brazilian partner  Planeta Organico , she is responsible for running the BioFach América Latina and ExpoSustentat. Planeta Organico, an internet portal and consultants for the organic market, has been a partner of NürnbergMesse for seven years and remains in close touch with people working on the ground and with politicians and NGOs. What CEO Beatriz Costa sees are, above all, the people, the farmers and their families who stand behind the 300 and more exhibitors at the fairs. She said how pleased she was with the splendid way the organic sector had developed in recent years, and that she was very happy with the stable visitor numbers. (Picture: Partners driving the organic sector forward; from the left: Rosina Guerra, Ligia Amorim, Beatriz Costa, Alvaro Werneck)

There was ample evidence of the professionalisation of the organic sector at BioFach América Latina and ExpoSustentat: modern stand design, a wealth of innovative products and, especially at the sustainability fair ExpoSustentat, many interesting initiatives. For example, Brazil’s biggest energy supplier Itaipu is providing massive support for organic agriculture in the Iguassu National Park, and about 1,000 local small farmers are now taking part in the programme Cultivando Agua Boa . As the project leader Joao José Passini reported, the products are sold under the brand Vida Organica, including in schools in 25 cities, so that indirectly around 90,000 school children benefit from the support given to organic agriculture. (Picture: Itaipu informed visitors about its successful programme Agua Boa)

State support programmes are enabling small-farmer cooperatives and small businesses to gain a foothold in the market. Their products were exhibited in the Sala Andes Amazonia, Sala Caatinga and Sala Mata Atlantica at ExpoSustentat, that has been running alongside BioFach for the last five years. On display were speciality foods from these regions, natural textiles and natural cosmetics, and art and craft articles in particular. (Picture: Stand with oils from the Amazon, “Naturais da Amazonia”)

For Talentos do Brasil, a programme supported by the Ministry for Rural Development, this year was its premiere at ExpoSustentat, and it exhibited fashion, accessories and small craft articles in a very attractive ambience. This initiative had already proved successful at a fashion show in Paris, and the project leader Patricia Guimaraes was thrilled by the level of interest. (Picture: Talentos do Brasil creates jobs for women in rural areas)

Claudia Mayer, the coordinator at the German development aid organisation GTZ  (Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit), was also very pleased with this year’s ExpoSustentat. “Lots of real interest, good contacts and potential business deals,” was her conclusion at the end of three days. GTZ, that is involved in many projects in Brazil, has supported and financed the Sala Andes Amazonia for a number of years. The stand designs of the various joint presentations at this sustainability fair communicated authenticity that was accompanied by information and a far-from-everyday range of products. (Picture: Sala Andes Amazonia with suppliers from various Latin American countries)

The joint exhibition stand representing Germany was in Sao Paulo for the last time in that form. The seven exhibitors at the German pavilion were very happy to be there again. Andreas Eckhardt from BMELV was full of praise. Two German companies, Hawos Getreidemühlen  and Alva Naturkosmetik have succeeded in penetrating the Brazilian market. Ralf Pigge from Hawos: “The market is much more mature than just three years ago – we’ve found a committed importer and we’re going home with firm deals.” Alva’s managing director Jens Schmitt drew attention with a make-up display to his company’s decorative cosmetics range that will be on sale in Brazil from 2010. Visitors to the German Pavilion could also meet Gustavo Bacchi from the certification organisation BCS Öko-Garantie and Udo Censkowsky from the Munich consultancy Organic Services, a company that operates worldwide. Both men considered the fair to be a success. (Pictures: The Alva stand in the German Pavilion and Hawos Getreidemühlen)

Two other international exhibitors commented favourably. The Argentina stand, whose presentation included a new range of baby food, had plenty of visitors. Doc Harmony from the USA, the third biggest seller of ear candles, was pleased that the public showed such interest and proved so receptive to this new way of relaxing in Brazil. The company is looking for distributors and is convinced that Brazil is a great market. Tobias Bandel from the Dutch firm  Soil & More, that was represented in Sao Paulo for the first time, was surprised by the level of interest and had not expected such crowds of people at his stand. The CO2 footprint of the event in Sao Paulo was neutralised by Soil & More. (Picture: No shortage of “patients” at Doc Harmony’s stand)

Dick Thompson from Sitio do Moinho, a market garden company that runs a box scheme in the federal state Rio de Janeiro, is an organic market pioneer in Brazil. The successful producer and marketer spoke of “the best BioFach I’ve ever experienced”, and he considered the development of the market to be very positive. Other Brazilian companies came to the same upbeat conclusion – for example, Fabio Cecilia from Mae Terra, that is another manufacturer with a long tradition. He was pleased with the good feedback from his innovations and could see that people appreciated his company’s efforts to innovate, re-launch the packaging and avoid producing CO2. The company’s basic product range is cereals, plus bars and biscuits and, new to the range, convenience and instant products for quick meals. Most of the raw materials come from Brazil. He said that demand was growing strongly in all sales channels and this year his company had registered record growth. He thought the reasons for this were the general health trend, the positive image of organics and the falling prices. (Picture: Angela and Dick Thompson are very happy with the development of the market)

Gustavo Domingues from the firmSolarius introduced a new line of Italian-inspired spreads and antipasti. The little jars of pestos proved very popular. The company has developed an own range for the export market, and there was a lot of interest in these too (picture on left).

The company BioBrasil from Sao Paulo is already a successful exporter to countries in Latin America, the USA and Europe, although not yet to Germany. The young entrepreneurs who founded the company are Leandro Farkuh and Andre Makus. They package their bars, made of Brazilian dried fruit (acerola, acai, capucu, gioaba) and dried bananas with a fruit topping, in printed foil and advertise not only their nutritional value but also the company’s social responsibility and climate protection measures (bio2). (Picture: BioBrasil’s bars are already on sale in ten countries)

Jasmine is one of Brazil’s biggest organic manufacturers. The company in Curitiba, that is certified organic by the Instituto Bio-Dynamica IBD, has a strong presence in the domestic market with its wholewheat range (health foods), cereals, special grain products (amaranth, quinoa), biscuits and bars. Starting in 2009, the company now collaborates with the Italian manufacturer Alce Nero (pasta, tomato products, etc.). Here too, people from the firm were saying that their products had been received very well, and that the Brazilians were getting more and more health conscious. Food intolerances are a big issue in Brazil and are stimulating sales. (Picture: A lot of interest in Jasmine’s stand)

The marketing initiativeOrganicsBrasil, that takes care of marketing and exporting organics made in Brazil, had its hands full on its stand at BioFach dealing with many interested growers and processors and with enquiries from potential outlets. Isabela Gloger from IPD (Instituto de Promocao do Desenvolvimento) – OrganicsBrasil is one of their projects – was extremely happy with the way the fair had gone. (Picture: Project manager Isabela Gloger was delighted by so much interest)

Exciting topics were discussed at the parallel BioFach Congress: natural cosmetics, sustainability and biodiversity are important issues in Brazil, that is a country rich in raw materials. The efforts made by the raw materials supplier Beraca to preserve biodiversity are exemplary. In the middle of the year, Beraca won the United Nations “2009 SEED Award for Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development” with its project “The sustainable use of Amazonian seeds”. (Picture: As every year, the gastro-workshop was well attended)

The increased use of organics in school catering and non-domestic catering in general was a hotly discussed topic in view of the country’s ambitions regarding the World Cup. Paulo Pompilio from the management of the Brazilian supermarket chain Pão de Açucar 
explained his company’s clear strategy: “We will do everything within our power to meet the challenges of 2014 and 2016, because we are convinced by this country’s mission to ecologise.” At BioFach, Pao de Acucar presented the organic products in its own brand range taeq. Green markets are soon to be launched in Sao Paulo that are ecologically based and will sell a wide range of organic products. The commitment is so great that growers are being offered micro-credit so that they can convert to organic. (Picture: The Brazilian supermarket chain Pao de Acucar committing to organics with an organic line under its own brand taeq)

Beatriz Martins Costa (on the right in the picture), the co-founder of the online platform Planeta Organico and co-organiser of BioFach América Latina, called for action: “ A great deal is expected of the organic industry as the leader in the development of ideas for 2014, so we must be proactive and step up to the mark with enthusiasm.” Contact has already been made with the central government, and initial meetings have taken place. Gilberto Carvalho, cabinet head in the government of Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, came to BioFach to look round and get an impression of the organic companies attending this year’s trade fair.

(Pictures: On the left: ECO3, organic cotton shirts, on sale in the supermarket Pao Acucar, in the middle: High level of professionalism: Korin, Agricultura Natural, production according the principles of the Japanese Mokiti Okada, on the right: Marketing Chamomilla organic baby clothes, IBD certified.)


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