By Christian Schmidt
Organic products are booming in Germany. We are the world’s second largest market for organic products, after the USA. Annual turnover in Germany reached 7.91 billion euros in 2014, and is on the rise! There are few German supermarkets that do not offer organic products. In fact, you will even find supermarkets and supermarket chains which sell nothing but organic products. German consumers are very demanding. Just like with regular products, they insist on pleasurable foods and beverages and a wide selection of products. At the same time, they feel that the production methods used and compliance with social standards are important. The Indian market is therefore very interesting for our food industry.
The demand for organic products is growing in India as well. A lot of products come from the immediate area and are thus in line with the basic concept of organic production. German organic products are also increasingly in demand. Processed products, such as baby food, are particularly enjoying ever-greater popularity.
The German agri-food industry is one of our country’s most innovative and productive economic sectors. Throughout the world, “Made in Germany” stands for high quality -and not just in the organic food segment. Our high safety and quality standards are internationally renowned. In terms of agricultural exports, we rank third in the world. German agri-food companies use innovative processing and production methods. The variety of German products is enormous. Meat and dairy products have a good reputation in many markets outside Germany and are in strong demand. Our big variety of breads and the more than 5,000 different beers that are produced in our country are especially well-known. Exports are becoming more and more important for our agricultural sector. Every fourth Euro in agriculture and every third Euro in the food industry are now earned via exports.
The relations between Germany and India in the agri-food sector have always been strong. We will expand this good cooperation even further in the future. We will underscore this intention at the Indo-German Intergovernmental Consultations to be held in New Delhi in October 2015. Since its establishment in 2008, the bilateral working group on the agri-food industry has provided an excellent platform for a constructive exchange of views on all issues regarding trade and cooperation. With a view to promoting trade, we want to make food safety and consumer health protection the focus of our cooperation. With this in mind, I would like, within the framework of the Indo-German Intergovernmental Consultations, to conclude an agreement on cooperation and an intensive exchange of technical information between the competent authorities in the area of risk assessment and risk management. We would also like to continue a joint project being conducted by our two countries focussing on the subjects of plant variety protection, variety development and seed legislation on the identification and approval of high-yield varieties and on the production of high-quality seed.
The market for organic products is a growth market – in Germany and in India. I look forward to continuing the close cooperation between our two countries in this growth market in the future. This cooperation can only benefit all parties involved: farmers, the environment and consumers.
The author is Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Germany
This article appeared in the October 2015 issue of Pure & Eco India