With a growth rate of 20% per year, organic production is emerging as a sustainable and value-added business model

22 Dec 2021

Producers and specialists analyze a promising future for the sector

There is an unsatisfied demand for organic products, both in the local market and abroad. Producers and specialists explain what the production process is like, the certifications, provide data on the harvests, the disparity in prices and analyze the promising future of the sector.

“Organic agriculture works with nature, with the natural cycles of nutrient recycling, biological control, which conserves and promotes soil fertility and biodiversity. It does not pollute the water, the air or the soil, and minimizes carbon emissions, thus mitigating climate change. We do not use transgenic seeds or synthetic agrochemicals. People are cared for as part of the entire agricultural chain, in terms of their health, work and well-being protection,” explained Mariana Del Pino, vice president of the Argentine Movement for Organic Production in Argentina (MAPO), about the production process. organic.

Organic production, and the keys to its system.

Facundo Soria, head of the Organic Production Area at the National Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAGyP), stated that “organic production is process technology and not input technology, which is based on in-depth knowledge of cycles natural, intra and interspecific relationships that develop in an agroecosystem to enhance natural services when producing food. They are pollination, biological control and fertility, thanks to the promotion of biodiversity and a living soil that it demands”, about the foundations of this practice.

“Daily batches of between 60 and 80 kg of sweet are made. At the same time, in primary production we have, within the fruit-bearing forest, orchards, aromatic, medicinal and flowers,” commented Graciela López, founder of Dulces del Jardín, a family business from Santa Fe, which for almost 20 years has been making fruits and sweets from organic fruits.

Livestock and organic agriculture

In the last year, the area harvested in hectares of organic products grew by 14%, according to the study “Situation of Organic Production in Argentina during the year 2020” of the Service of Agrifood Health and Quality (SENASA). From the year 2000, until last year, the harvested organic surface has fluctuated, its highest points beginning in 2015, with 75% of surface and annual growth, the maximum harvested surface, of 84%, was achieved in the previous year and in 2016. In the last 10 years, an average of 73% of the national surface was harvested.

“The indicators are growing because there are more and more enterprises that decide to reconvert and certify”, explained Facundo Soria (MAGyP), about the growth in the last year. Meanwhile, Mariana del Pino (MAPO) declared that “the consumption of organic products has increased, and perhaps that is why the harvested area increased.”

Although he clarified that remuneration is not so easy to achieve in organic production: “It cannot be generalized that production is more profitable, because profitability depends on each activity, the market and the sale price, which is very uneven” .

In this sense, Soria (MaGyP) added that “producing organic often implies an increase in costs because it internalizes all environmental costs, and this must be transferred to the price to be profitable and for this, it is necessary to put together a good business plan to know how to direct the product to the market niche that values ​​and prioritizes it. The choice of marketing channels, communication strategies, appropriate packaging and vertical integration are essential”, about the multiple factors to be taken into account to generate a profitable business in the production of an organic good.

The area devoted to livestock does not have such a high projection, but it has grown at a constant rate in the last five years: it increased by 14% from 2015 to 2020. In the last 10 years, its maximum reached was last year with 42% of the area dedicated to livestock in the country.

“It is more complex to produce in this way because it requires training and experience, it also implies going from selling commodities to selling specialties, which ultimately constitutes a triple challenge when it comes to taking advantage of this opportunity: a technical, commercial and organizational challenge,” Soria said. (MaGyP), in relation to organic practice and open fronts for those who want to go to the sector.

Organic certification can take three years

The way in which an organic product can be distinguished from another that did not have to give proof of the way of producing and working the raw material is with the labeling of the certifier and the official isologo “Orgánico Argentina” (Resolution MAGyP 1291 /2012), which verifies that current regulations were complied with.

Soria (MAGyP) said: “An organic product takes between 2 or 3 years to be certified in order to be sold as such, depending on whether it is a perennial or annual production. If the raw material is already organic, the process is only one inspection as long as its opinion is favorable.

Sustainable Future

The future of organic production and the national market presents a horizon full of possibilities, the interviewees narrate it from their perspectives:

  • Facundo Soria (MaGyP): “It is a promising future for organic production because the external and internal demand is unsatisfied and grows uninterruptedly. This scenario is conditioned by the political decision to continue accompanying this path with a budget and incentives, which, although it is an opportunity, is also a great challenge”.

  • Mariana del Pino (MAPO): “We believe that production and the market will grow, in all areas.”

Source: Punto Convergente