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Organic Agriculture in Asia 2010

The total organic agricultural area in Asia was nearly 3.3 million hectares in 2008. This constitutes nine percent of the world’s organic agricultural land.

400’000 producers were reported. The leading countries by area are China and India. Timor Leste has the most organic agricultural area as a proportion of total agricultural land (seven percent).

Organic wild collection areas play a major role in India and China, while Aquaculture is important in China, Bangladesh and Thailand. Even though most of the production is for export, markets continue to support domestic growth in the region. A diversity of market channels are thriving, including ad hoc organic bazaars, small retail outlets, supermarket corners, multi-level direct selling, and internet marketing.

Mixtures of regulatory frameworks co-exist in the region. Voluntary organic standards by government standard-setting bodies have been set in Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. Standards are being drafted in Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Mandatory certification for organic labeling on the domestic market is required for China, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Policy makers have begun to integrate organic agriculture into sustainable agriculture development initiatives; as the positive impacts of organic agriculture on local communities and economies, climate change and the carbon footprint of agriculture are increasingly recognized. (Source: Article by Ong Kung Wai in The World of Organic Agriculture 2010, page 120).

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