|Case Studies for Organization and Structure for Early Organic Agricultural Development in China and Lessons Learnedrganic In Brazil, Case Studies for Early Organic Agricultural Development in Southeast Brazil|
Organization and structure of the organic sector
In accord with the organic industries’ development in China, all kinds of new organic agricultural models have been developed. A firm leasehold management means that an organic processing or trading company leases the land from farmers and manages the farm and the sale of organic products, while the peasants may obtain the land rent and at the same time become agricultural workers. The peasants’ payment has no direct relation to farm yield. A successful model is the company + base + farmers, where the processing or trading firm sets up the organic production base in cooperation with a local government such as a village or a township. The farmers take up organic production according to the firm’s demand, and the government signs a planting and purchase agreement with the farmers in a sound, long-term collaboration. In an organic production association the farmers are led and organized by the local government to take part in organic production. The association may instruct the farmers in organic production, support in techniques and sell the products with a standardized quality. Where companies fail to organize organic production, the local governments also establish their own ‘government enterprises’ in so-called demonstration bases of local government to promote local organic development.
The image of organic agriculture is that it contributes to health, food safety, and environmental protection. Besides export opportunities, the official sector emphasizes organic agriculture’s contribution to sustainable development of agriculture and sustainable land use.
Supporting structures: Research, education, extension Along with the development of organic agriculture in China, many science research institutes established organic agriculture research and consultation agencies to provide consultation for publicity, training, and organic agriculture techniques.
The Nanjing Global Organic Food Research and Consulting Centre (OFRC) was formally established in 1999. As the first registered organic farming research and consultancy organization in China, OFRC became a member of IFOAM in 1999, and a part of IFOAM’s Organic Agriculture Consultation Experts Committee in 2002. So far, OFRC has conducted consultation, instruction, and training for over 300 producing enterprises and bases of organic products in China. OFRC conducted technological and market studies as well as research on policy and planning for organic food.
In 2000 the Plant Protection Department of the China Agriculture University founded an Organic Agriculture Technology Research Centre that began training in organic plant protection technology, seeking to spread it over the whole country. They have set up programs and have published books on organic agriculture principles and technology that made great contributions to the development of Chinese organic agriculture. In the same year, Nanjing Agriculture University set up the Institute of Organic Agriculture and Organic Food to work on organic agriculture science research and technology extension. China Agriculture University and Nanjing Agriculture University also opened courses on organic agriculture that helped many technicians master organic agriculture technique.
There are also many NGOs in China that promote and develop organic production systems, such as the Pesticide Eco-Alternatives Centre Yunnan, Greenpeace Hong Kong, and Partnerships for Community Development in Hong Kong. They have conducted many experimental programs for organic agriculture and made active and effective investigations of Chinese organic agriculture practices.
External demand for Chinese organic products has been a major driving force, but also concern about environmental degradation.
International (IFOAM) contacts and collaboration have inspired organic development.
The initiatives to develop organic agriculture have come primarily from companies and local governments.
A unified national organic standard increases consumers’ trust in organic products.
The existence of a CB can be a positive factor for promotion of organic farming but also has its limitations; it cannot cover aspects such as policy, trade, and research.
The ambition to comply with all the main international standards makes the standard difficult to work with for practical operators.
• A domestic market can be developed and fostered through:
general promotion of organic agriculture and organic food by the media.
producers who can guarantee the quality of organic products
building of diverse and efficient marketing channels and sales networks where organic food company alliances share resources, raise the efficiency of distribution, and decrease the marketing costs
government support to domestic market development and funds that can stimulate organic food shops, distribution centers, specialty stores, and chain stores
Export capacity can be improved through ensuring product quality, strengthening the administrative surveillance and company self-discipline, and training officials and staffs of the certified companies
To avoid trade barriers, exporters can cooperate with organic certification bodies in the importing countries or even organize certification by CBs of the importing country.
It would be interesting for Chinese enterprises to develop their own special local products that can be appreciated by foreign consumers.
Contacts with foreign business partners and export exchange should be promoted.
Diversity of models suiting different situations and conditions is beneficial for growth.
Supporting policies need to be further developed.
(Authors: Ms. Weihua Xie, Mr. Wenpeng You, Mr. Dong Lu and Mr. Xingji Xiao)
Further Reading on China's Organic Sector development:
Case Studies of Organic Sector Development
(Adapted From IFOAM, Building Sustainable Organic Sectors)
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