There’s a growing trend among consumers to favour organic vegetables and fruits, free of pesticides or other harmful substances.
Here in the UAE, an increasing number of farmers are focusing their efforts on products to fill that consumer niche. And for retailers, organic products generally fetch a higher markup on the shelves, increasing profit margins for producers and middlemen in the supply chain.
As it stands now, there is nothing in place to ensure that food labelled as organic is just that — grown without pesticides. However, the issue is just not the application of herbicides of pesticides during cultivation. In Europe, to qualify for an organic certification, the land itself must be free of chemicals for at least five to seven years. Here, the organic market is estimated to be worth Dh350 million annually — and that is growing as consumers opt for greener and healthier produce. The Ministry of Environment is to establish criteria and certification standards to ensure that all future organic products are indeed free of chemicals and grown in an environmentally-friendly manner. And that’s a good move for all.