Organic food research and production in China will be stepped up to meet the surging demand from international and domestic markets, said a senior official with the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
Zhuang Guotai, deputy director with the Natural Environmental Conservation Department under SEPA, said the country's organic food exports aim to make up 1 percent to 2 percent of total sales in the international market within five to 10 years.
Organic foods refer to those agricultural products that are traditionally grown without the use of synthetic additives like fertilizers, pesticides and hormones.
Genetic technology is prohibited from being used in the production of organic foods, SEPA officials said.
Sales of organic foods in the Japanese market reached US$2.6 billion in 2000, SEPA statistics show.
Annual sales in the European and US markets are expected to reach US$100 billion in 2006.
China will flex its muscles to "get a piece of that pie," Zhuang said.
Zhuang said China will further establish organic food production bases in its hinterlands, especially those mountainous areas with an abundant labor force and pollution-free environment.
Along with the introduction of the latest technologies, SEPA officials will join with the State Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to promote the further international accreditation of Chinese organic food products, Zhuang said.
Chinese farm products have frequently been barred from entering the international market, largely because of a lack of accreditation from the international market, SEPA officials said.
SEPA and AQSIQ have jointly set up a special accreditation institution to promote the standard and official certification of Chinese organic food products at home and abroad.
Zhuang said the future of the country's organic food industry is bright.
Many farmers in the country's hinterlands still use traditional farming methods, free from fertilizers and pesticides.
(China Daily May 18, 2002)