Eastern European countries on the move
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
Eastern European countries only have a very small share in the world sales of organic products. But their production is rising steadily. Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary have the biggest market for organic products so far. Tom Vaclavik from Green Marketing stated that Czech consumers had bought an estimated 18 million Euros of organics last year. But a threefold market growth could be expected within the next five years. (Picture: Organic Store in the Czech Republic). Tom Vaclavik also mentioned that the market had grown by 80 percent in the last two years and that the demand had been increasing mainly in large cities. The media was also becoming more concerned about the quality of food production. But this also meant domestic organic production had not been able to keep up with demand. Therefore, organic products were often imported, mainly processed ones. In Eastern Europe, organic produce like cereals and berries, fruit and vegetables are often raw, since there is hardly any investment in processing and manufacturing. According to Mr. Vaclavik, the market was still in its initial phase, therefore being recommendable to invest now. Many EU countries, also the newer ones, could expand their production - like Bulgaria, for example.
Organic agriculture was introduced to Bulgaria in 1990, when agricultural land was put into small plots and distributed among the population after the fall of communism. The EU as well as the government of Bulgaria encourage the transition to organic farming and are giving subsidies among organic farmers and food producers. In 2005, less than 0.25 per cent of agricultural land was farmed organically. Currently, 90 per cent of all Bulgarian organic food is exported to wealthier members of the EU. The country’s crops include apples, strawberries, raspberries, plums, walnuts, grape-vine and tobacco, herbs like peppermint and lavender as well as rose and lavender oils. Cows, sheep and goats are kept for the production of milk and cheese. Lamb and calf meat is available as well as organic jam and honey. In 2005, more than 62,000 ha of wild land had been certified as organic to collect wild fruits, herbs and mushrooms. This meant an increase of more than 120 % compared with 2004.
The Ukraine is considered another important new country in Eastern Europe. 240,000 hectares are under production at this point of time, very often large-scale farms own over 3,000 hectares. The production is generally limited to wheat for export so far.
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