Nine producers from Armenia are exhibiting their organic certified and in conversion products such as honey, dried fruits, natural juices and herbal teas to around ten thousand specialized visitors of the annual Middle East Organic & Natural Products Expo 2018, held in Dubai on 18-20 November.
The expo is the region’s sole dedicated business event that focuses on natural products. The participation is organised by the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI), a project funded by the European Union (EU) and co-funded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia, as well as with SME DNC and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The organic sector opens new opportunities for Armenian producers to compete with high-value quality products. The objective of the participation is to explore this growing market and find potential buyers for Armenian organic products, as well as to promote and establish “Organic Armenia” as a high value brand in the Middle East market.
"A main market opportunity in the EU is the strong demand trend for healthy natural products without artificial ingredients and with low sugar content. Armenia has particular strengths for the production of niche products and it is an advantage that a lot of companies have an organic certification with support from the EU (OASI project)'' said the EU Ambassador Piotr Świtalski.
“The EU helps farmers in different regions of Armenia to improve their production both in quantity and quality, and to find markets for the products, as well as promoting exports and accessing EU markets. The CEPA, in its turn, is paving the way for deeper cooperation, broadening the scope of economic cooperation and providing new opportunities for closer ties on different sectors, including agriculture sector".
Acting Minister of Agriculture Gegham Gevorgyan emphasized: "The development of organic agriculture in our country is a prospective direction with great potential, which also has great opportunities for export and we should take all the steps to encourage farmers who produce organic products.”
“As a possible state support option, we are also discussing the possibility of subsidizing organic certification costs, which we hope will be another important incentive for increasing the volume of organic agriculture in the country," he added.
“Austria as the organic leader in the European Union is proud to support Armenia going organic. Helping the producers access international markets is one of our core activities, and the growing Arab market is very promising for Armenian organic and natural products”, noted David Muckenhuber, Team Leader of OASI project.
The demand for organic products is growing exponentially in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as consumers are placing higher value on sustainable and healthy products. Dubai’s unique geographical location also makes the country a crucial link in international trade routes and an important gateway to the GCC and Pan Arab Markets.
The MENOPE expo is held under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment UAE and is supported by IFOAM-Organics International. The success of its 2017 show has led to a doubling in size this year. The expo drew over 6,500 industry buyers in 2017 and this year it expects over 9,500 specialized visitors.
OASI is a three-year project launched in September, 2015 aimed at promoting organic agriculture in Armenia.