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The number of marketers and importers of organic products in Israel increased by 133% and 212%, respectively, in the last decade

The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture has extracted relevant data on the production, domestic trade, exports and imports of organic products in the country since it passed the law on organic products in 2009.


Date palm in Israel.

In recent years, organic fruits and vegetables have become especially popular. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the law on organic products in Israel, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development publishes a summary and data for the decade. The report data shows that extensive inspections and close supervision led by the Ministry of Agriculture have led to extraordinary figures when it comes to anomalies in organic production in 2019, with 871 samples being sampled by approval and control bodies, of which only 18 were detected with pesticide residues, that is, 98 percent of the samples were completely clean. All the exceptions were managed by the control bodies and the Certification Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The 14 abnormal samples found by the approval and control bodies were located before the products were placed on the market, including: potato, tahini, hyssop, sprouts, fennel oil, compost, date, bread, flour, orange, sage, lemon , olive and avocado. All were disqualified for marketing as organic. Investigation of the incidents shows that the majority of anomalies are due to cross contamination or floatation / drift from neighboring agricultural departments. Two more anomalies were found during the supervision of the stores by the certification director of the Ministry of Agriculture in papaya and cumin, the products were removed from the shelves and their marketing as organic was prohibited. In addition, 2 anomalies were received from the EU before being marketed in Europe in red pepper and lemon waffle, both marketed as "conventional". The substances found are allowed in conventional agriculture but are prohibited in organic farming.

Starting in 2016, there has been a sharp decrease in the number of anomalies in organic products. A decrease of 16% in 2017, a continuous decrease of 40% until 2018 and a total decrease of 60% until 2019. The decrease in anomalies is due to the information and assimilation among the public of distributors and marketers, greater control and activity in the countryside.

So what have we had in the last decade? As of 2019, there are 746 authorized distributors in Israel in organic farming, a small increase (a 3.6% increase) from the number of distributors in 2009, which stood at about 720 distributors. In the last decade, there has been a change in the mix of distributors: the number of producers has decreased by 12%, while the number of importers has increased by 212% and the number of marketers by 133%. The strong increase in the number of importers and traders is in line with the increase in the amount of organic products sold in the food and marketing chains. Along with the number of stores added, the number of green "baskets" marketed in direct marketing has also increased, indicating that the local market continues to establish and grow. The main organic crops are wheat, dates, jojoba, olives and potatoes and they constitute 60% of all organic crops in Israel. Likewise, in the years 2009-2016, there is an upward trend, both in the number of areas that increased by 12% and in the number of towers that increased by 11%. The total ecological area in Israel is 63,100 dunams (6,310 hectares) and constitutes about 1.5% of the total agricultural area in the country.

The Israeli export of fresh organic products to Europe in 2019 was 54,300,000 tonnes, which constitutes about 13% of the total export of fresh agricultural products to Europe. The most popular crops are carrots, potatoes, and citrus. In addition, 2,536 tonnes of processed organic products are exported to Europe, including fruit and vegetable juices, oils, breads and other pastries. Despite increased competition in exports to Europe and high shipping costs, the relative share of organic products in total exports of agricultural products to Europe remains.

The law regulating organic products, which is celebrating a decade, regulated the organic farming industry in Israel and established regulations that regulate the organic products industry in Israel by defining how the production, production and marketing of organic products, preparations allowed for use in vegetable production and criteria. Under the law, four approval and control bodies have been established, which are responsible for supervising traders of organic products and granting permits to traders to mark organic products in accordance with the law. These organisms are supervised by the Director of Accreditation and Certification Bodies of the Ministry of Agriculture. The director and approval bodies carry out continuous control and close supervision of those involved in organic farming, including but not limited to: sampling, research management, quality testing, sales and marketing supervision, etc.

Mirit Amrani, Director of Plant Protection Standards and Audit Services at the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture: "Organic farming in Israel has undergone many changes in the last decade, since the law came into force. These changes have led to agriculture organic in Israel Control from field to plate. When abnormalities are detected in laboratory tests, the agricultural product is not sold as organic. Clean and safe organic food for consumers. "

Organic farming background

A consumer who wants to consume organic products should look for the uniform organic symbol of the Ministry of Agriculture on organic products and the control symbol, in order to know with confidence that the product they buy is actually sized and manufactured in accordance with the organic standard and It is supervised by one of the laboratories of the Ministry of Agriculture, 'Agrior' or the Institute of Control and Quality (ICQ, for its acronym in English).

Since the entry into force of the law, every year the Ministry carries out "supervision" in addition to the continuous inspection carried out by the approval and control bodies of organic products in Israel, both at the level of prohibited substances and at the level of traceability and labeling of consumer products. Products tested in the 2019 report included fresh and processed products such as fruits and vegetables, breads, cereals, powders for making beverages, etc.

Organic farming in Israel constitutes approximately 1.5% of all agricultural products produced in Israel and approximately 13% of all agricultural exports. The industry employs around 750 distributors, of which around 350 are producers. The ecological area in Israel is approximately 63,000 dunams according to the segmentation: extensive crops - 42%, fruits - 32%, vegetables - 6%, spices and nuts - 3%, various - 16% (non-cultivated areas, herbs, flowers, etc.). In addition to the increase in favor of domestic consumption, Israel exports organic products to the EU countries. In 2019, 40,528 tons of vegetables, 3,739 tons of fruits, 7,705 tons of citrus fruits and 2,372 tons of cereals were exported.

Since the date of application of the law, the issue of organic products in the State of Israel has been regulated - in what components are organic products prohibited and allowed, how to grow organic products and in what restrictions (distance from the cultivation field " normal ", irrigation, flood prevention), packing, storing and transporting the organic agricultural product, how the organic product should be displayed at the points of sale, how it should be packed and what should be marked on it, what supervision and control should be must do in organic products, etc., so organic products must bear the uniform ecological symbol of the State of Israel (Ministry of Agriculture) on the product packaging (fruits, vegetables, packaged products) and the inspection symbol of one of the approval and control bodies authorized to give the organic grower and producer permission to mark the product as organic.

In January 2014, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Green Products Act whereby the word green is "expropriated" exclusively for products bearing the Ministry logo. This means that a so-called "organic" product must bear the symbols and meet the requirements of the law.

The consumer must ensure that organic products are clearly separated from normal products. That is, if a store sells both organic and conventional products, they should be separated from each other to avoid unnecessary confusion. Each store should have a separate area for organic products, be it fruits and vegetables or processed products, such as: pasta, ketchup, sauces, etc. In stores that sell only organic products, it is not necessary to separate the different products, but in the place of sale there should be a sign with the words "Organic Made".

Following the understanding of the demand for organic agricultural products, the Ministry of Agriculture has developed a database on organic farming in which it is possible to verify from anywhere and in real time whether agricultural products marketed as organic are really organic. In addition, at the time of purchase, consumers will know where the fruits and vegetables they have on hand, where they were packed, etc.

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