Speaking at a government meeting, Medvedev said the organic market was booming all over the world and that this niche was “one of the most promising for Russian agriculture”.
Russia has plenty of agricultural land that has been out of use for many years, so has not been spoiled by various chemicals, Medvedev said. This land would be suitable for the cultivation of organic crops, and this should be considered a natural advantage for Russian agriculture, he added.
Medvedev added that there were many people in the world who preferred meat from animals grown on organic feed and said the organic bill would bring order to the domestic market for organic products, as there are currently many products in retail labelled as organic, which are not actually so.
Weak domestic demand
In recent years, organic labels have appeared on the packs of a wide variety of products, including meat, but according to analysts, the manufacturers were simply taking advantage of the absence of any organic standards in the market and there have been no penalties for using the misleading labels.
“It is impossible to estimate the share of organic products or the consumption levels of organic meat in Russia, based on official statistical data and analytical research,” Sergey Yushin, chairman of the Russian National Meat Association, told GlobalMeatNews. “No such data exists and the claims that the products are organic have not been confirmed by certification in accordance with Russian legislation. In most cases, the organic label on a product is just a marketing ploy.”
Russian Gazette, the official publication of the Russian government, has reported that up to a third of agricultural producers in the country could claim their products to be certified organic during the next few years.
Moreover, the price difference between non-organic and organic beef, for instance, could range from 30% up to 60%, according to Yushin. In this regard, Sergey Korshunov, chairman of the Russian Union of Organic Farming, said he believed the domestic market for organic meat in Russia would be small, as the purchasing power of the population has not grown to the levels of other Western markets.
Better export opportunities
However, as Medvedev forecast, Russia could export large quantities of organic meat and, according to the Union of Organic Farming, this could bring the profitability of organic farming in Russia up to 100%, which would be nearly 10 times higher than the conventional meat industry in 2017.
Russian Gazette reported that a strong demand for organic products of Russian origin had already been seen in the European Union, including in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Italy. According to the government publication, it is believed Russia could gain a strong foothold in the global organic market within the next few years.