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Key insights into global organic food trade

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A landmark study on the trade flow of organic food products across the borders of the USA reveals that a robust global appetite for organic food has created new lucrative markets from Mexico City all the way to Hong Kong for organic producers from the USA - but also provides strong evidence that American farmers are losing out on some valuable opportunities by not growing more organic. According to the study conducted by Pennsylvania State University's Dr. Edward Jaenicke, associate professor of agricultural economics, released on 15 April 2015 by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), exports of organic foods of the USA as well as imports of organic into the USA have risen significantly in the past few years. The report compiles, for the first time ever, a comprehensive picture of the officially tracked organic food products sold by US exporters and bought by US importers.

American organic growers sold products worth over US$550 million

In 2014, American organic growers sold more than US$550 million (about €514 million) worth of products tracked by the US government through organic export codes to buyers around the world, with the USA rightly claiming the position of global supplier for fresh organic produce. Imports of organic products outpaced exports, amounting to nearly US$1.3 billion in 2014. The import picture tells two stories: one of an increasing appetite by Americans for organic foods not widely produced in this country, like coffee, bananas, mangoes, olive oil, to name a few, and the second story of a growing domestic market for organic feed grains but insufficient home-grown organic crops to meet that demand. While America's coffee lovers gulped down more than US$300 million worth of foreign-grown organic coffee, helping to boost the import total, imports of organic soybeans and organic corn - the main ingredients in organic feed for the expanding US organic dairy, poultry and livestock sectors - showed sharp gains.

Five top organic export products: Apples, lettuce, grapes, spinach and strawberries

Apples, lettuce, grapes, spinach and strawberries are the top five organic products exported by the United States. Exports of organic apples alone jumped 40 percent in 2014 from the previous year, compared to a small three percent growth rate for non-organic apple exports. In fact, the pace of growth for the exports of almost all of the 26 organic products tracked was markedly higher than that of their non-organic counterparts. Exports of organic produce account for an increasingly greater proportion of total exports. Of all the cherry tomatoes exported by the USA, for example, 42 percent are organic; 33 percent of the spinach exports are organic, along with 27 percent of the onions, and 23 percent of the carrots. The full article as well as further information is available from OTA


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