Yesterday, the 32nd international trade exhibition of organic products BIOFACH 2021 started. This year, it’s organized for the first time in online format. The exhibition brought together 1443 exhibitors from 82 countries, including Ukrainian producers of organic products.
OrganicInfo.ua asked Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine – Trade Envoy of Ukraine, why it is so important to participate in this exhibition, what are Ukraine’s perspectives within the European Green Deal (EGD) and what are the perspectives for removing Ukraine from the list of countries that should go through additional measures of control of organic products.
OrganicInfo.ua: Last year, you had the opportunity to visit the exhibition offline, this year online. Why is the participation of Ukraine in BIOFACH important?
Taras Kachka: BIOFACH — is the world’s largest international trade fair of organic products, which has brought together participants from all over the world for the 32nd time this year.
For Ukrainian producers of organic products, this is a unique opportunity to present themselves in the world’s most dynamic food market, which has been the market of organic products for already about two decades.
It should be noted that Ukraine, using its capabilities from both environmental and economic points of view, is increasing organic potential every year and strives to take one of the leading positions among producers of organic products in Europe and around the world.
Thus, in 2019, the total export of organic products from Ukraine was 469 thousand tons (186 million US dollars). Here are the top 10 importers of organic products in the world:
- The Netherlands — 141 thousand tons (USD 37 million)
- Switzerland — 59.5 thousand tons (USD 14 million)
- The USA — 50 thousand tons (USD 34 million)
- Lithuania — 47 thousand tons (USD 12 million)
- Germany — 42 thousand tons (USD 24 million)
- Great Britain — 36.8 thousand tons (USD 9 million)
- Austria — 16.8 thousand tons (USD 14 million)
- Poland — 13.7 thousand tons (USD 12 million)
- Denmark — 10 thousand tons (USD 3 million)
- Italy — 8.6 thousand tons (USD 6.5 million)
During the same year, in 2019, Ukrainian export of organic products to the EU amounted to 338 thousand tons (115 million euros), which is 85% of all Ukrainian organic exports. Among the top importers of Ukrainian organic products – the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Poland, Denmark, Italy, France, Romania.
Therefore, the participation of the Ukrainian National Pavilion ORGANIC UKRAINE BUSINESS HUB in BIOFACH eSpecial 2021 — is an important business event that will allow us to properly represent the Ukrainian organic sector, promote domestic organic products, gain the trust of importers and expand the geography of sales.
It should also be noted that BIOFACH eSpecial 2021 is a good opportunity to get acquainted with the achievements and innovations of the world’s leaders in the organic sector, this will certainly be a boost for the further development of domestic organic production.
OrganicInfo.ua: Organic producers, of course, are interested in the perspectives for developing cooperation with the EU, expanding opportunities related to the European Green Deal and, in particular, the «Farm to Fork» strategy that was presented last year. How do you think the EGD will widen the perspectives for our organic sector?
Taras Kachka: The European Green Deal (EGD) is a roadmap of activities that will help to develop an efficient and sustainable economy and improve the health and quality of life of people in harmony with the planet and its resources.
The EGD creates challenges and opportunities for Ukrainian and European business. The transition to a sustainable EU food system will increase demands towards agricultural and food products, which is going to be a challenge, and the promotion of organic products will create new market opportunities for producers.
At the same time, in 2020, the «Farm to Fork» strategy was presented. It implies the transformation of food policy and a significant increase of the share of organic farming.
Ukraine is also moving towards the EU, so it harmonizes domestic legislation and expands opportunities for producers of organic products.
Thus, in 2019, the Law of Ukraine «On the Main Principles and Requirements to Organic Production, Circulation and Labelling of Organic Products» was enacted. In order to implement its provisions, the ministry has developed a number of regulations, the vast majority of which have already been approved. Their implementation will allow launching a national certification system of organic production.
In addition, in 2020 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On State Support of Agriculture of Ukraine», which also implies state support for producers of organic agricultural products in the following areas:
- allocation of budget subsidies per unit of arable land and/or one head of cattle;
- reimbursement of up to 30 percent of the cost of organic certification;
- reimbursement of up to 30 percent of the cost of purchasing permitted plant protection products and fertilizers, seeds, planting material and feed.
Currently, to ensure compliance with the Law, a regulatory framework is being developed. Its introduction will boost further development of the Ukrainian organic sector.
In 2019, the share of organic land in the total area of agricultural land was 1.1%. An integrated approach to the development of the organic sector will increase this to 3% and attract more producers to the sphere of organic production.
OrganicInfo.ua: What are the perspectives of removing Ukraine from the list of countries that have to go through additional measures of control of organic products? Ukraine has been on the list for a while now, and it implies additional costs for exporters of organic products.
Taras Kachka: Indeed, despite Ukraine’s export activities on the world’s organic market, the issue of the strict EU control over organic products that are supplied by our producers remains open.
The main tasks for solving this problem, and the ministry is currently working on them, are:
- complete legislative support in the field of organic production, circulation and labeling of organic products;
- functioning of the State Register of Operators that produce products in accordance with the requirements of legislation in the field of organic production, circulation and labeling of organic products, the State Register of certification bodies in the field of organic production and circulation of organic products, the State Register of Organic Seeds and Planting Material, the procedure for which is established by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of 12.02.2020 № 87;
- introduction of an efficient system of state supervision (control) in order to eliminate falsification of organic products on the market and raise the responsibility of producers.
- ensuring transparency of the Ukrainian organic market.
Successful implementation of these tasks will allow Ukraine to become a reliable trade partner with regulated legislation on the world’s market.
Also, this will be a premise for the appeal to the European Commission about considering the revision of the established additional control measures over our organic producers.
A reminder: on BIOFACH 2021 eSPECIAL, the Ukrainian National Pavilion – ORGANIC UKRAINE BUSINESS HUB was organized by the NGO «Organic Ukraine» with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy in Ukraine program. The Swiss-Ukrainian program «Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine» and the Export Promotion Office of Ukraine are partners in the preparation of the Ukrainian National Pavilion.
The photo is from the OrganicInfo.ua archive: BIOFACH 2020