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Russia eyes European organic market

Moscow seeks to become organic food powerhouse across Europe

News agencies
Published: 01.15.13, 08:39 / Israel Environment

Russia is reportedly seeking to take a bigger bite of the organic products market in Europe, within the scope of the World Trade Organization.


Moscow's lawmakers are reportedly promoting a bill to support and boost the production of organic agricultural products, with aims of getting a bigger foothold in the EU's expanding organic market.

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Russia's Ministry of Agriculture hopes the law will come into force by 2015.


"As long as organic products are in demand, this idea has a future, of course. Many people buy eco-friendly products deliberately. So I think that the Ministry of Agriculture does it all right," Igor Rudensky, head of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, told Russian media.


"We have all prerequisites for the development of the market for organic products: A huge amount of land, handled with a minimum amount of fertilizers; and we have greenhouse farms that can grow organic produce," he added.


"I think the prospects that we have are more than enough, and as for the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, one can only support that."


The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements said that in 2011, transactions in the organic market in Russia amounted to $60-80 million – less than 1% of all food consumed by Russians.


According to the IFOAM, only about 10% of the organic products sold in Russia are produced by domestic farmers.


Russian farmers said that they will reduce their prices if Moscow offers the proper subsidies, but some experts claimed that State support of agricultural farmers growing organic produce will remain low.


This assessment has led skeptics to say that while organic products are in high demand, they are still quite expensive and even if the farmers lower their prices, organic foods would still remain in the "luxury" category.


Organic products remain in the premium segment of foods across Europe, with prices often two or three times higher.




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