Kazakhstan is tapping growing consumer demand for organic crops to help it better compete in the food-export market.
The country wants to use much of its vast uncultivated lands to grow soybeans and other non-genetically modified crops for markets such as China and the European Union, Agriculture Vice Minister Gulmira Isaeva said. By offering non-GMO and pesticide-free produce, it hopes to carve out a niche in a crops market dominated by giants such as Russia, Australia or the U.S.
“We can use these hectares for starting ecological production,” Isaeva said in an interview in London. “It’s our advantage. We cannot compete by price with U.S., Australian and Canadian agricultural products, but we can be a competitor in the organic markets.”
The organic food market is worth more than $90 billion globally and has grown in Europe and the U.S. in recent years…As demand rises faster than the amount of available land, there are concerns about new sources of supply, industry group IFOAM Organics International has said.
Kazakhstan hopes to export much of its produce to the EU, the second-biggest organic market worth about $35 billion, Isaeva said. China has also shown an interest in buying Kazakh soybeans, she said.
“We present Kazakhstan as an organic country, ecological country and therefore we want to be producing non-GMO, free from some chemical pesticides,” Isaeva said. “We want to use only natural means of production.”
Read full, original article: Kazakhstan Goes Organic in Bid to Build Niche in Grains Market