At Agritech Solutions we believe in organic agriculture and therefore from the very first moment we help our clients to produce organic food by providing them with our knowledge and experience.
Organic agriculture is a production system that tries to make the best use of the resources of the farm, emphasizing soil fertility and biological activity and at the same time, minimizing the use of non-renewable resources and not using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to protect the environment and human health. Organic agriculture involves much more than not using agrochemicals. A wide variety of organic agricultural products are being produced for export in Central America.
What are the main requirements?
There are specific requirements to certify organic production of most crops, animals, fish farming, beekeeping, forestry and harvesting of wild products. The rules for organic production contain requirements related to the farm’s transition period (time that the farm must use organic production methods before it can be certified; which is generally 2-3 years). Among the requirements are the selection of seeds and plant materials; the method of plant breeding; the maintenance of the fertility of the soil used and the recycling of organic materials; the method of tillage; water conservation; and the control of pests, diseases and weeds. In addition, criteria have been established on the use of organic fertilizers and inputs for pest and disease control. With regard to animal production, there are usually requirements on animal health, feeding, reproduction, living conditions, transport and slaughter procedures.
What are the main advantages and limitations?
Producers switch to organic farming for various reasons. Some consider the use of synthetic agrochemicals to be bad for their health and the environment, others are attracted by the higher prices and rapid growth of the market for many organic products in recent years. Organic agriculture can represent an interesting opportunity for many Central American producers and can become an important tool to improve their quality of life and income.
Switching to organic agriculture may be easier and more profitable for some producers, depending on some factors such as whether the farmer uses synthetic agrochemicals intensively or not, whether he has access to labour (organic production often requires more labour), whether he has access to organic fertilizers and other permitted inputs, and whether he owns his land, etc.
In Central America, organic products are usually sold at farmers’ fairs and, more recently, in supermarkets. Despite growing national demand, the main markets for Central American organic products are North America, Europe and Japan. Initially, organic agriculture was mainly of interest to small producers, both men and women, but with the growth of the market, some large producers have started to produce organically. This has created greater competitive pressure on prices and product quality.
There are technical limitations with some organic products in some situations where there are still no good alternatives due to the use of agrochemicals. Most organic products receive a higher price compared to conventional products. However, although it is difficult to generalize, it is expected that in the future this price difference will be reduced due to an increase in organic production of some products, thus allowing market demand to be met On the other hand, while there is a risk that the premium on organic products will decrease and in some cases even disappear, certified organic products are well recognized in most markets and as such may be preferred over conventional products.