Organic Farming for Sustainable Agriculture in Asia
With Special Reference to Taiwan experience
Chair Professor, Research Institute of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology
Organic agriculture has been increased rapidly world wide in last few years. The global organic food sale was estimated to be US$26 billion in 2003. Japan has the third largest market for organic foods after EU and the USA. In Asia total area under organic management shared only 0.33 percent in six continents of the world, however it increased to be 4 percent in 2004 which is a ten-fold increase in 3 years. According to IFOAM (2003), land area under organic management in Asia was the largest in China (301,295 ha) followed by Indonesia (40,000ha), Sri Lanka (15,215 ha), Japan (5,083 ha), Thailand (3,429 ha), Pakistan (2,009), Taiwan (1,092 ha), Republic of Korea (902 ha) and Malaysia (131 ha). Organic standard law is essential to ensure the quality of organic product. Recently, Japan revised its organic standard regulations into more strict legislated law in which a penalty measure is added to punish the violators of organic labeling regulations. Other Asian countries (China, India, Israel, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Thailand) also implemented their own organic regulations but not yet put in legislation to be an official law. Malaysia finalized regulation, but not yet fully implemented, while Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries are either in process of drafting regulations or no action is taken at all. In Taiwan, Council of Agriculture officially accredited three NGOs as the Organic Food Certification Organizations in Taiwan. Until June 2003, a total of 1092.4 hectares of land were certified by these organizations to be organic farms to produce various organic foods (rice, vegetables, fruits, tea and others). Import of organic foods mainly from Japan and USA is increasing in Taiwan in recent years. The imported and locally produced organic foods are sold through supermarket, organic healthy food stores, and agribusiness scale chain stores and through e-commerce. Although Taiwan has its official version of organic standard promulgated in 2003, however, there is no penalty regulation for the violators of the law for organic labeling. This will cast doubt of the consumers whether the organic foods on the market are really organically grown.
Modern agriculture depends on high input of chemical fertilizer and pesticides for crop production. Although such technology based agricultural practice has increased agricultural productivity and abundance, the resulting ecological and economical impacts have not always been positive. Environmental pollution and food safety due to chemical contamination become the great concern worldwide. In order to cope with this problem, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) proposed “The World Food Summit Plan of Action (1999)” in recognition with the importance of developing alternative sustainable agriculture such as organic farming. The goal of Action Plan is to reduce environmental degradation while creating income from the farming operation. Organic farming is an integrated farming system which involved technical aspects (soil. agronomy, weed and pest management) and economic aspects (input, output and marketing) as well as human health. Chemical free safety foods produced from the organic farms are widely welcomed by the consumers around the world today, especially in North America, Europe, South America, Asia and Oceania. Due to the great global market demand, production of organic foods is increasing rapidly in past decades. According to Hanuman (2003) of Organic Trade Association (OTA), US retail sales of organic foods and beverages, which have grown approximately 20-24 % per year for the past 12 years, are estimated to have reached slightly US$ 11 billion during 2002, representing about 2 percent of...
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