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認識有機 Knowing Organic

 

 

1.1 當您 ......

朋友:

當您吃有機食品的時候,您是在含情脈脈告訴大地:感謝土地賜給我們世世代代美好的食物,讓我們得以繼續生存,我現在衷心希望,以後世界上每一塊土地繼續在天人相應互動合作的情況下生生不息。

您是在微笑著對天上的鳥兒、地上的走獸、水裡的魚蝦傾訴:我愛眾生、愛大家每一位,我不要弄污弄髒這個天地,摧毀大家的棲身所,毒死任何一個。

您是在感謝辛辛苦苦用血用正氣憑良心生產食物的農夫:我們支持您們的什哄A欣賞您們的智慧、毅力、情操。

您是溫柔地挑戰一個舖天蓋地血腥暴力蠻不講理的政治經濟文化,正在運用個人的消費行為強化正義的經濟力量,創造綠色的市場空間,協力推翻即時害死全人類的灰色經濟。

您是在輕聲安慰自己的子女:爸爸媽媽又盡了一點點力,為寶寶創造還可以活下去的明天──有藍天碧水鳥語花香。

您是在心滿意足肯定自己:我今天活出了愛,今晚睡得更甜 ( 天使相伴入眠 ) 。

您是在祝福眾生,您自己變成了眾生的祝福。

周兆祥

綠田園基金主席

 

1.1 WHEN YOU....

When you are enjoying organic food, you are speaking softly to our Planet: Thank you for the good earth which provides us with such marvelous food generation after generation, enabling us to survive. I sincerely hope that every inch of land will – now on, as we all cooperate with the natural elements to shape a brighter future .

You are confiding with the birds, the animals and the fish your deep love for every one of them: I vow never again to defile our paradise and kill you by destroying your habitat.

You are thanking our farmers who grow food with their sweat , tears , heart and conscience: I salute your dedication, wisdom and compassion.

You are hilariously sabotaging an overwhelmingly violent and insidious social-economic-political culture with you r consumer power: Let this be the beginning of the end your tyranny.

You are comforting, in tears, your children : Mum and dad are trying hard, in desperation, to bless your future with drinkable water and breathable air.

You are gently affirming yourself: I practiced love today, and will have a good sleep tonight (with sweet angels praying by my bed) .

You are blessing all. You became the blessing.

Simon S.C. Chau

Chair

Produce Green Foundation

 

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1.2 甚麼是有機耕種﹖

 

隨著化學肥料及化學農藥的發明,今日的常規耕種方法,已大量使用這些化學物。這些東西雖然可以產生速的效果,但它們對人體有害,會污染環境,擾亂生態,且加劇水土流失,令泥土肥力持續下降。另外,現時有關基因改造生物的研究,尚未到達成熟的階段,當中仍有不少可爭議的地方,目前已發現一些基因改造生物有可能危害人類健康及生態環境。隨著消費者對環境、對健康的關注,令有機產品的需求不斷增加。

有機耕種是一種農業的操作模式,在這種模式中,生產者會以尊重環境的方法去生產、處理及加工。他們關心的不單是產品本身,更是由生產以至送到消費者手上的整個過程,是否符合有機精神。

根據聯合國糧農組織及世界衛生組織所組成,以制定食物標準為工作的食物法典委員會,於 1999 年訂定,在 2001 年修訂的《有機食品生產、加工、標籤及銷售指引》,「有機耕種是一套整全的農業生產管理系統,它會改善農場的生態系統,包括生物多樣性、生物循環及泥中的生物活動。它強調管理操作,而非靠投入外來物料,且考慮到各地區本土系統的需要而作適應配合。它會以農業、生物或者機械方法來代替人工合成的物質以進行農耕活動。」另外,國際有機農業聯盟的《 IFOAM 有機生產及加工基本標準》( 2002 年版),可以豐富我們對有機耕種的理解:「有機農業是一套基於一定程序的整全系統,它的結果是可持續的生態系統、安全的食物、良好的營養、動物福利與及社會公義。故此有機農業,不單只是一套容許或不容許使用某些物質的生產系統。」

在實際操作上,有機生產者會盡力避免使用人工合成的化學農藥 ,包括化學肥料、化學農藥及牲口藥物,亦會拒絕使用基因改造的種子或含經基因改造的物料 ,故此食物安全更有保障。有機生產者 會盡力保育泥土及農場環境,以提高泥土長期的生產力, 平衡有益和有害的生物, 避免病蟲害的發生 ,種出健康的作物 。同時 ,有機農場亦會盡力保存牲口的天性,且為牠們盡量提供天然飼料。有機農場比一般農場對環境更友善,農場內會有更多的雀鳥、蝴蝶、植物及其他生物。此外,有機農場亦會盡力保障工作人員的社會權益。 有機耕種 是人類可持續發展的基本構成部分。

 

1.2 What is Organic Farming?

Since chemical fertilizers and pesticides being invented, the conventional farming method has widely adopted these artificial inputs. These chemicals may induce quick effect, but they damage health, pollute environment, disturb ecosystem, intensify erosion and reduce soil fertility. Moreover, the very controversial biotechnology, genetic engineering, cannot be claimed as mature at the moment. Some genetically modified organisms are found to be possibly jeopardizing human health and environment. As consumers concern more about environment and health, the demand for organic products becomes greater.

Organic farming is an agricultural operation method. Organic operators produce, handle and process in a way with strong emphasis on environmental concerns. Their focus is not just the product itself, but the entire process from production to delivery to consumers. The whole procedure should not compromise to the organic integrity.

According to the Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (created by FAO and WHO to develop food standards) in 1999 and revised in 2001, “Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, cultural, biological and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfill any specific function within the system.”

The IFOAM Basic Standards for Organic Production and Processing (version 2002) by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) may enrich our understanding of organic agriculture. “Organic agriculture is a whole system approach based upon a set of processes resulting in a sustainable ecosystem, safe food, good nutrition, animal welfare and social justice. Organic production therefore is more than a system of production that includes or excludes certain inputs.”

Down to the actual operation, organic producer would avoid the use of artificial chemicals, including chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides and drugs for animals. They refuse genetically engineered organisms and their derivatives. The food produced accordingly would provide consumers with better confidence on the safety aspect. Organic producers would conserve soil and their environment to enhance long-term productivity. They maintain a harmonious balance between beneficial and harmful organisms to avoid the outbreak of pest and disease. For livestock, organic operators would provide adequate natural feedstuffs and maintain an environment for their innate behavioral needs of the animals. On the other hand, an organic farm inhabits more birds, butterflies, plants and other wildlife. It recognizes and protects the social rights of the people involved. Organic farming is a basic constitutive part of the sustainable development of our society.

 

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1.3 選擇有機產品的 10 個理由

 

•  營養健康

有機產品較常規產品含更多的維生素、礦物鹽、酵素、微量元素,甚至可抗癌的抗氧化劑。因為在有機農場內,健康的植物從健康的泥土中長出來,成為富含營養的食物。有科學家用兩年時間,比較從芝加哥西郊買回來的有機與常規農作物的礦物質含量,比較的作物包括蘋果、薯仔、李、小麥及甜粟。他們發現有機產品的平均礦物質含量,較常規產品的高得多。其中鈣含量,有機產品高 63% ;鉻,高 78% ;鐵, 73% ;鎂, 118% ;鉬, 178% ;磷, 91% ;鉀, 125% ;鋅, 60% (1) 。

•  減低潛在健康風險

大約 90% 在美國使用的殺菌劑, 60% 的殺草劑及 30% 的殺蟲劑,發現可以致癌或有潛在致癌的危險 (2) 。與這些化學農藥接觸,除了會增加患癌的機會,還可給人類帶來許多不同的健康問題,小如頭痛、疲勞、噁心等,大至神經紊亂、內分泌及免疫系統失調 (3) 。 根據世界衛生組織一份報告,在東南亞 7 個發展中國家中,從 1996 至 2000 年期間,按比例計算,每年約有 12 萬人因為農藥中毒而入院,其中約 5% 的死亡與農藥中毒有關 (4) 。

有機農業避免使用化學農藥和肥料,但因為化學農藥由鄰近常規農田飄往有機農場時有發生,加上部分持久的農藥可殘留在泥土裡許多年,令有機產品亦有機會受到化學農藥的污染。但有機操作已在最大程度上,保障消費者免於接觸這些化學物品,讓有機生產的蔬果,較常規生產及綜合蟲害防治生產的蔬果,在機會上及含量上有明顯較少的農藥殘餘 (5) 。

另外,有機農業亦禁止使用基因改造生物及其衍生物,亦不容許使用 離子輻射來 作 病蟲害防治。故此有機產品是消費者安全得多的選擇。

•  給孩子最安全的

在美國,約 60 萬個 5 歲及以下的小童,在典型的一天內,會進食到超過政府安全標準的有機磷化學農藥 (6) 。因為 小孩和嬰兒的體重較輕,相對 的食物量比成年人更多 ,而且因為他們 食物的種類較狹窄,加上身體器官、神經及免疫系統都在發育當中,所以食物所含的農藥對他們的影響更大。所以 不少人購買有機產品,為的就是自己和家人的健康,特別是想給孩子最安全的食物。

•  讓地球更健康

在常規農業中,由於重複用藥,令害蟲產生抗性,要用更多更厲害的農藥來對付。過多的化學農藥和肥料,會隨著流水及空氣污染環境,成為全球一項持續的威脅。但有機農業卻可免除因農業活動而導致的環境污染。

常規農業需要使用大量的能源來生產化學肥料,它這方面所消耗較用在翻土及收割上更多。但有機農業卻可減少對非再生能源的倚賴,會利用良好的農業操作及循環再用各種有機物來提高泥土的肥力。

對常規農業來說,泥土只是一種讓植物在其上生長的介質,它不需要為作物供應養分,因為常規農夫會施用化學肥料。但常規農場卻經歷有史以來最嚴峻的水土流失問題。美國 2,600 萬公頃農地上的表土,正受到不斷的侵蝕,而表土流失的速度,已威脅著農地的生產力 (7) 。但相反,在有機農夫眼中,健康肥沃的泥土是食物生產的基礎,是他們最重要的伙伴。他們會在泥中加入有機物,會種植不同的作物,這些操作可以減少水土流失,保持泥土的肥力。

•  保護水質

農區附近的水體受到化學農藥及化學肥料的污染是相當常見的問題。美國 90% 的河水樣本及河魚樣本,以及 50% 的井水樣本都發現含有一種或以上的農藥 (9) 。而農區附近的地下水,不少都含有接近甚或超過國家飲用水標準的硝酸鹽 (8) 。而硝酸鹽的一個主要來源是化學肥料。硝酸鹽可以在人體內轉變為亞硝酸鹽,而亞硝酸鹽可引致 新生兒因為缺氧而發生 「藍嬰症」,對孕婦亦構成危害,另外亞硝酸鹽是潛在的致癌物質。有機生產不會使用化學合成的農藥及硝酸鹽,會避免氮素的流失,從而保育珍貴的水資源。

6. 保護農場工作人員

化學農藥威脅消費者的健康,常規農場內的工作人員因為會直接與化學農藥接觸,所以威脅更大。據估計,美國每年最少有 1-2 萬位農場工作人員因農藥而致病或受傷 (9) 。因為發展中國家的農藥管制多未上軌道,故情況更為嚴峻。一些在已發展國家禁用的農藥,仍可入口發展中國家。有機農場拒絕使用這些有害的化學農藥及其他合成化學物料,使農場環境更健康,讓工作人員及其家人的健康受到保障。

7. 保護小農戶

雖然已經有不少大企業加入有機生產的行列,但不論在已發展或是發展中國家,大部分有機農場仍然是由獨立的小農戶所擁有。有機產品的售價,一般都比常規產品為高,這個溢價,是讓這些小農戶繼續生存下去的方法之一。在香港,現在尚有約 1,500 位仍然有生產的菜農,他們的耕地面積,平均只有 4.2 斗種,大約 3 萬平方呎。自 2001 年開始,陸續有常規菜農通過漁護署的轉型計劃轉為有機生產,加上其他有心人,香港共有約 60 個有機農場,他們絕大部分都屬家庭作業。大家多購買本地生產的有機蔬菜,就是對他們最有力的支持。

•  有機產品其實並不特別貴

市面上出售的有機產品一般較常規產品昂貴,但事實只是常規產品的價格未能反映它的真正成本。常規產品的背後,還有不少隱藏成本,雖然毋須消費者即時負擔,但其實最終仍須由納稅人繳付,由整個社會共同承擔。這些隱藏成本包括:監管化學農藥、清理污染的食水及環境、醫治由化學農藥所引致的疾病及傷害等。另外還有野生生境的損失、水土流失及其他環境的破壞。相反,有機耕種包含了對環境的保護及改善,讓農場工作人員的健康更有保障,而且會顧及牲口的福祉。所以購買有機產品,我們是為可持續的環境付出代價。

9. 維護生物多樣性

常規農業內常見的單一種植可以令農地增產,但卻會讓泥土容易缺失養分及礦物,需要用更多的化學肥料作補充。同時單一種植令合適的病蟲害更易發生,所以必須依賴化學農藥來作控制,這樣卻又會導致害蟲產生抗藥性,以後要用更多的農藥來處理。

有機農場鼓勵種植多類的作物,利用能吸引益蟲的植物,進行輪種、間種,藉蚯蚓、堆肥、綠肥等循環養分。有機農業鼓勵各種生物在平衡和諧的生態環境中生活。根據一份 2000 年的英國報告,有機農場比常規農場有多 4 倍的野生植物、多 2 倍的非害蟲類蝴蝶、多 60% 的節足類動物及在秋冬天多 44% 的雀鳥 (10) 。

10. 有機食物味道更好

不少人選擇有機產品,是因為它味道更好。很多時常規農夫選擇種植作物的標準,都會是高產、容易付運、外形整齊美觀等,並因此而放棄了作物的食味。不過,不少有機農場都是小農場,他們的產品多在鄰近地區銷售,故此他們可在作物較成熟時才採收,選種時,不需要因為長途運輸而放棄食味的選擇;加上有機作物在健康的農地上生長,故此可以讓有機產品的味道及營養都更豐富。

購買有機產品,是保障自己和家人健康,保護地球所作的最有貢獻的選擇之一。

 

1.3 10 Reasons to Buy Organic

1. Organic Foods are Nutritious and Healthy

Organic produce contains more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace elements and even cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventionally-grown food. In an organic farm, healthy soil produces strong and healthy plants that become nourishing food. A two year study compared organically and conventionally grown apples, potatoes, pears, wheat and sweet corn purchased in the western suburbs of Chicago for mineral content. The average levels of minerals were much higher in the organically grown than in the conventionally grown food. Calcium is 63% higher; Chromium, 78% higher; Iron, 73%; Magnesium, 118%; Molybdenum, 178%; Phosphorus, 91%; Potassium, 125% and Zinc, 60% (1) .

2. Reduce potential health risk

About 90% of all fungicides, 60% of all herbicides and 30% of all insecticides used in the U.S. are found to be oncogenic or potentially oncogenic (2) . Other than increasing risks for cancer, exposure to chemical pesticides can cause a range of ill effects in humans, from relatively mild effects such as headaches, fatigue and nausea to more serious effects such as neurological disorders, endocrine and immune system dysfunction (3) . According to a report made by World Health Organization, there were about 120 thousand people in proportion were hospitalized for being poisoned with pesticides where 5% death were related to pesticide poisoning in 7 developing countries in South East Asia in 2000 (4) .

Organic farming avoids the use of artificial pesticides and fertilizers. But due to pesticide drift from conventional fields and persistent pesticides in the soil, organic produce cannot completely free from all chemical contamination but it may reduce consumers' exposure to pesticide residues significantly. Organic fruit and vegetables have a significantly lower incidence and lower level of pesticide residue than conventionally grown and integrated pest management (IPM)-grown produce (5) .

Other than chemical pesticides, organic farming prohibits the use of genetically engineered organisms and their derivatives. Organic regulations also prohibit irradiation of food. Organic produce is a much safer choice consumers can made.

3. Protect Future Generations

About 600,000 U.S. children age 5 and younger get a dose of organophosphates that exceeds the acute “safe” dose on a typical day (6) . Infants and children are more vulnerable to pesticide because they consume more food per unit of body weight than adults and far fewer types of foods than adults. Besides, their organs and nervous and immune systems are still developing; they might be more susceptible to pesticide damage. Many people buy organic food whenever possible to protect their health and the health of their children, who are especially at risk.

4. For the Health of Our Planet

As pests become more resistant to chemical pesticides, more and more chemicals are needed to farm successfully in conventional farms. Excessive chemical pesticides and fertilizers pollute environment and becomes an on-going problem worldwide. On the other hand, organic farming ensures that the air, soil and water in the vicinity will not be contaminated as a result of farming actions.

Conventional farming uses more energy to produce synthetic petrochemical-based fertilizers than to till and harvest. In contrast, organic farming reduces dependence on non-renewable resources. It relies upon good cultural practices and recycles organic matter back into the system to maintain the soil fertility.

In conventional farming, soil is merely used to hold plants up so they can be chemically fertilized. Conventional farms are suffering from serious topsoil erosion in history. In the U.S. , more than 26 million hectares of cropland continue to erode at rates greater than the soil loss tolerance which threatens the soil's agricultural productivity (7) . On the contrary, organic farmers see healthy, nutrient-rich topsoil as the foundation of food production and their greatest ally. They build their soil by returning organic matter into the soil and by planting diverse crops. Their practice results in less water usage and soil erosion and sustainably fertile soil.

5. Protect Water Quality

Chemical pesticide and fertilizer contamination in water bodies is a common problem in most agricultural area. M ore than 90% of water and fish samples from streams and about 50% of all sampled wells contained one or more pesticides (9) in the U.S.. While in areas of intensive farming in the U.S. , the nitrate-nitrogen concentration may approach or exceed their national drinking water limit (8) . Fertilizer nitrogen is one of the major sources of nitrate. Nitrate could be converted to nitrite in our bodies. Nitrate may induce "blue baby syndrome" in new born babies that their blood lacks the ability to carry sufficient oxygen . Nitrite may cause health hazard in pregnant women and is potentially carcinogenic. Organic producers use practices that eliminate polluting chemicals and reduce nitrogen leaching, and thus protect and conserve precious water resources.

•  Protect the health of farm workers

While pesticides may pose health risks to consumers, the risks are far greater for field workers. Field workers on conventional farms, due to their direct exposure to pesticides, are the most vulnerable to illness . It is estimated that there were at least 10,000 to 20,000 pesticide illnesses and injuries per year in farm work (9) . This is particularly true in developing countries, where pesticide use can be poorly regulated. Several of the pesticides banned from the use in developed countries are still imported to developing countries. Organic farms eliminate the risk by eliminating harmful pesticides and other chemical inputs from their practices. Eliminating exposure to toxic pesticides creates a healthier environment for people who work in the fields – and their families, too.

•  Help Small Farmers

Although more large scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small independently owned and operated family farms in developing and even developed nations. Organic farming may be one of the few survival tactics left for the family farm. Value-added premium pricing enables many small family farms to thrive. In Hong Kong , there are some 1,500 vegetable farmers still with production. Their farm size is about 4.2 D.C. (approx. 30,000 square feet) in average. Since 2001, some conventional farmers converted to organic through a conversion scheme carried out by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Together with the others, Hong Kong has about 60 organic farms. Majority of them are family farms. To purchase locally produce organic vegetable is the strongest encouragement for them.

•  Represent a True Economy

While organically grown products may seem more expensive, current prices for conventionally grown foods do not reflect their hidden costs borne. Even consumers need not to pay for these costs right after his purchase. The cost will have to be paid by taxpayers and the whole society. Hidden costs include pesticide regulation, cleaning up of contaminated drinking water and environment, medicinal costs for illness and injure caused by pesticides. Besides, we have loss of wildlife habitat, soil erosion and other environmental damage. In contrast, organic farming conserves environment, protects the health of farmers and cares for the welfare of farm animals. When you buy organically grown products, you pay now for a more sustainable environment.

•  Promote Biodiversity

Mono-cropping is a common practice in conventional farming system. The approach might increase the productivity, but the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil depleting in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often in increasing amount. This system also encourages the outbreak of pests and diseases. As a result, conventional farmers relies more on pesticides while creating insects resistant to certain pesticides.

Organic farming encourages diverse plantings, works with crops that promote beneficial insects, practices crop rotation and intercropping, recycles nutrients with earthworms, composts and green manures. Organic farming promotes an abundance of species living in balanced, harmonious ecosystems. According to a report from UK in 2000, there are 4 times more wild plants, 2 times more non-pest butterflies, 60% more arthropods and 44% more birds in autumn/winter in organic farms than in conventional ones (10) .

•  Organic Foods Taste Better

Many people prefer organic food because it tastes better. Many conventional growers select crops that are of high productivity, convenient for shipping, with uniform and cosmetic appearance – concerns that ignore the importance of flavour. In contrast, most organic farmers are small family farms, their produce are sold to vicinity areas. They do not need to sacrifice flavour for long distance shipping. Besides, organic farmers produce food in healthy farms, they harvest food when ripe at peak flavour and nutrition, getting the maximum taste and health benefits for our bodies.

Buying organic products is one of the most important contributions any of us can make to protect you and your family's health and to save the planet.

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1.4 全球有機活動發展現況

 

隨著消費者對健康和環境意識的提高,有規模、有目的的市場推廣,加上各地政府的支持下,有機活動由一小撮追求健康、追求理想人士的個人選擇,漸漸在全球各地普及至社會的不同領域,進入主流的消費和生活模式。有機產品的銷售,由於近年的增長率十分可觀,相對於整體食品市場的緩慢甚至停滯不前的發展勢頭,更成為商界以至政府的關注對象。

有機農業生產

現時全球已有超過 100 個國家擁有或多或少的有機農業,有機耕地亦與日俱增。這個發展趨勢,不單在發達國家出現,亦在發展中國家出現。根據國際有機農業運動聯盟在 2003 年發表的調查報告 (11) ,全球使用有機方法管理的土地約為 2,300 萬公頃,但由於其中 1,050 萬公頃位處澳洲、 320 萬於阿根廷,這兩國的有機土地大多為大型粗放式畜牧用乾地,故實際上全球有機土地中,可耕地約只佔一半。

有機土地在全球分佈,大洋洲佔去 1,060 萬公頃,歐洲諸國佔逾 500 萬公頃,拉丁美洲 470 萬、北美 150 萬,亞洲和非洲分佔 60 萬及 20 萬公頃。

至於有機地佔整體農地的比例,則以歐洲國家稱冠。居首的是列支敦士登( 17.0% ),其次是奧地利( 11.3% )與瑞士( 9.7% )。而中國約有 0.06% 。有數字資料當中又最少有機土地的是非洲國家馬拉維, 0.01% 。當然,不少國家的實際資料是不完整的,特別是發展中國家,故此這些數字含有或多或少的估計成分。

有機產品市場

國際貿易中心於 2003 年發表了一份有關全球有機農業貿易的估計資料 (12) ,在過去 10 年,有機食物銷售額的年增長介乎 20 至 25% 之間。 2000 年全球主要市場( 16 個歐洲國家、美國及日本)的有機產品零售額共 160 億美元,到 2001 年,已增至 190 億美元。與 1997 年的 100 億美元比較,實在有長足的發展。及至 2003 年,全球( 23 個歐洲國家、美國、加拿大、日本及大洋洲)有機產品的零售總額相信會達 230 至 250 億美元,預計 2005 年會升至 290 至 310 億美元之多。

全球的有機市場,以美國最大,增長亦十分迅速。 2001 年的銷售額約為 95 億美元,過去幾年的年增長率在 15-20% 左右,估計 2003 年的銷量會達 110-130 億美元。

據國際貿易中心的估計,有機食物的年銷售中期增長介乎 10 與 40% 之間,若以 2000 年的 2% 為基礎計算,預料於數年內可升至 10% (13) 。

到目前為止,有機產品在整體食品市場當中,仍然只佔一個十分小的百分比。據估計, 2003 年全球(歐洲、北美、日本及大洋洲)的有機食物及飲料的零售額,只佔整體食物市場的少於 0.5% (日本、大洋洲及愛爾蘭)至 3.7% (瑞士)之間 (14) 。以產品種類而言,則以水果和蔬菜佔優,已發展國家的有機水果佔整體水果市場的 3 至 5% ,英國和瑞士的有機蔬菜市場比例更高達 10% (15) 。雖然市場份額仍少,不過,從另一個角度看,則可見這種產品,仍可有長遠而可觀的增長。

有機產品的種類,已由最初的作物(如穀物、蔬果、香草等)擴展至肉類、奶類、魚類及蜂蜜等動物產品。至今,已有愈來愈多的有機加工食品(如油類、糖類、糖果、點心、麵包、酒、食物添加劑等)進入市場。加上其他非食品產品包括:飼料、棉、麻、天然殺蟲劑及驅避劑、切花、盆花、皮革、木材及木材產品、以及化妝品及清潔用品的個別成分等 (16) ,令有機產品差不多可以涵蓋人類生活的每個環節。

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國際貿易中心

國際貿易中心是世貿組織和聯合國貿易與發展會議屬下技術機構,主要工作是提供各色各樣的技術支援,目標是促進各國的出口效率及改善其入口運作,重點服務對象是低度發展國家。作為聯合國發展計劃的執行代表,它直接負責落實該計劃所資助的在發展中國家及過渡經濟的貿易推廣工作。

銷售模式

有機產品的銷售模式較常規產品多樣化,常見的有農夫市場、農場內的小菜檔、社區支持農業系統、健康食品店、專門店、特色餐廳等。近年,不少已發展國家的超級市場亦看準有機產品的潛力,開始涉足有機市場,而且發展迅速。不過,超市的重要性,在不同國家的差異相當大,在英國、瑞士和丹麥的有機蔬果中,七成透過超市出售,但在德國、荷蘭及法國,則只佔 20-30% (15) 。

無論如何,經由超市這種常規渠道銷售的有機產品份額有越來越大的趨勢,它們能配合廣泛的宣傳及龐大的銷售網,有助增加有機產品的曝光率,有利有機市場的擴展,而有機產品得以納入主流市場,亦以此為基礎。

根據國際貿易中心的調查,還觀察到有機市場有如下的趨勢 (15) ,或可供香港借 鏡 :

(1) 較多消費者相信自己本國的有機產品多於入口產品;

(2) 市場上開始出現專門售賣有機產品的小型超市;

(3) 多以可生物降解的包裝出售有機產品;

(4) 愈來愈多有機方便食物(如預先包裝的新鮮沙律菜)出現;

(5) 愈來愈多有機產品以網上訂購方式出售,特別是配合會員制度訂購有機菜;

(6) 開始有公眾食堂及食肆購入愈來愈多的有機產品。

有機認證

常規農業系統不斷且頻頻出現食物醜聞,令食物安全成為今日消費者十分關心的課題,選擇了有機食物的消費者一樣擔心會有污染、有意外,所以人類發展出有機食物的保證系統,也就是有機產品的標準及認證;然後更有保證系統的認可系統,以確保各系統達到一個最低限度的水平。

在 1980 年代,這類保證系統主要是由民間團體主理,他們設定生產或操作標準、執行檢查、發出認證證明。到 1990 年代,開始有政府的介入,他們主要是制定標準,界定甚麼才是有機產品,至於檢查及認證部分,則多交由其他獲認可組織去執行。目前,已有約 43 個國家已設立有機標準及認證制度,另外 12 個國家正在擬訂中 (11) 。

為了協調各國間的有機標準,數個國際機構制訂了一些跨國的標準,這些組織包括國際有機農業運動聯盟 (17) 、食物法典委員會 (18) 及歐盟 (19) 。其中國際有機農業運動聯盟是一個擁有來自 100 個國家的 750 個成員機構的有機民間組織,而食物法典委員會則是一個由聯合國糧農組織及世界衛生組織組成的食物標準訂定組織。三份國際標準大體上方向一致,只有小量細節有分歧。

如前所述,在有機認證系統之上,現已發展出認可系統。這類系統,有政府為確保認證系統能達到一定水平而設的,亦有方便國際貿易而發展的。至此,人類的食物,開始了歷史上前所未有的管制過程。可能有消費者慶幸能制定出如此嚴密的系統,同樣,大家亦可慨嘆今日的食物為何會弄至如斯田地。

中國的有機發展

中國的情況,仍屬發展的初階,不過前景令人鼓舞。從 1995 至 1997 年年底,生產經認證的有機農地,由 450 公頃 增至 4,000 公頃 ,另有約 1 萬公頃 的野外採集亦已獲認證。近年,有機產品的營業額有 10 倍的增幅, 1997/98 年的整體的營業額約為 600 萬美元 (16) 。中國全國約有三分之二的省及自治區有不同程度的有機發展,而以中國東部的發展最快。

1992 年,中國農業部設立中國綠色食品發展中心,認證兩類綠色食品──  A 級綠色食品(可以使用某些化學農藥)及 AA 級綠色食品(十分接近有機食品)。至 2001 年年底,有 48 個農場獲 AA 級認證。 1994 年,中國環保局設立有機食品發展中心,自行認證及協助其他國際機構認證國內的有機產品。在 1999 年以前,差不多 95% 國內生產的有機食品都是外銷的。但近年由於食物安全問題,國內的本土有機市場正在迅速發展,估計在未來幾年,有機食品的市場佔有率會達 2% (11) 。

政府的支援

雖說有機供求似乎都呈正面增長,但長遠來說,有機運動能否更上層樓,則仍需視乎政府推動和支持的力度有多大。

政府的介入,其一就是前段提及過的有機產品認證系統。將有機產品納入規管,保證其質素及信譽。且亦可藉政府的介入,使更多人注意有關產品及其標籤,對普及化也起著正面作用。

另外,歐盟不少國家都有由政府提供的財政支援,以協助常規農場轉型有機,如英國在 2001 至 2002 年的財政預算中,便將有關撥款增加五成至每年 2,000 萬英鎊 (20) 。同時,這些國家亦多訂立有機行動計劃及增長指標。荷蘭和挪威冀能在 2010 年將本國的有機農業佔地率擴大至 10% ,英國更把目標提高至 30% ,市場銷售額則訂為 20% 。雖然因種種未能預計及操控的因素,這些美好的目標未必能一一如期達成,但根據各國目前的發展水平及他們的目標去估計,整體歐盟的有機農地比率應可於 2030 年時達到 25% (13) 。

不論發展的速度,既能定下明確方向,對持續的發展趨勢必有助益;而且這類目標明確的增長指標,可增加社會的關注,亦可視為是對有機產品的一種認受與宣傳。

其實,對長遠發展最根本的,應該是研究和訓練,但在這方面,各國所投入的資源都十分不足。就以英國為例,他們每年用於有機農業方面的研究只是整體農業研發經費的 1.2% (20) ,這將會成為有機農業長遠發展的限制。

展望

綜觀全球,有機生產活動和市場看來正處於定向的軌道發展,而在不少國家及地區,包括香港,亦備受官方的關注和支持,可見堪稱為大有可為的行業。無論如何,若要在普羅大眾的主流生活中植根,尚需加倍努力──如改進農耕技術、拓展穩健的市場、加強國際上的溝通、建立有公信力的認證制度,方能讓有機活動在漫漫前路上健全地繼續推展下去。

 

1.4 Current Development of Organic Movement Worldwide

With increase awareness in health and environment among consumers, more large scale and targeted marketing promotions, and better support from different governments worldwide, organic activities have extended from small groups of health-conscious and idealistic individuals to various sectors in the society and entered the mainstream consumption pattern and living style. When compared with the sluggish development of the overall food market, the sales of organic products have drawn attention from the business sector and governments due to considerable growth in recent years.

Organic Agricultural Production

In the world, some 100 countries, including developed and developing ones, have been practicing organic farming to a certain extent and the area under organic management is growing continuously. According to a survey report released by IFOAM in 2003 (11) , about 23 million hectares are managed organically worldwide, including 10.5 million hectares in Australia and 3.2 million in Argentina . However, it should be noted that most of the organic land area in these two countries is extensive grazing land and that the actual global organic land area dedicated to arable land is less than a half of the total figure.

Globally speaking, 10.6 hectares of organic land distributed in Oceania, 5 million in European countries, 4.7 million hectares in Latin America, 1.5 million hectares in North America, while Asia and Africa have 600,000 and 200,000 hectares respectively.

For the percentage of land area under organic management, Liechtenstein topped the list (17.0%), followed by Austria (11.3%) and Switzerland (9.7%). China has 0.06% land area managed organically while African state Malawi is at the bottom (0.01%) among countries with such statistics. Nevertheless, the figures in many places, particularly developing countries, are not complete, so that the above statistics are more or less estimation.

Organic Market

International Trade Centre (ITC) has released its estimation on global organic trade (12) . For the past decade, organic food sales have been growing by 20 to 25 % annually. The retail sales of organic food in the largest markets in the world (16 European countries, the US and Japan ) amounted to US$16 billion in 2000 and increased to US$19 billion in 2001. Considerable development was seen when compared with the figure of US$10 billion in 1997. It was anticipated that the global figures would reach US$23 to 25 billion globally (23 European countries, the US , Canada , Japan and Oceania ) in 2003 and US$29 to 31 billion in 2005.

The US has the largest and fast growing organic market in the world, the sales amounted to US$9.5 billion in 2001 and the growth rate ranged between 15 to 20% in the past few years. It is estimated that the sales figure would reach US$11 to 13 billion in 2003.

According to ITC's estimation, annual sales of organic food might grow between 10 to 40 % over the medium term. In other words, organic food retail sales might expand from 2% in 2000 to 10% share in major markers in a few years' time (13)

However, global sales of organic food still represent a very small market share. It is estimated that the retail sales of organic food and beverage in the world (Europe, North America, Japan and Oceania) in 2003 would only share 0.5% ( Japan , Oceania and Ireland ) to 3.7% ( Switzerland ) of total food sales (14) . In terms of the types of food, organic fresh fruit sales are about 3 to 5 % in developed countries, while that in vegetable sales is estimated to reach 10% in the UK and Switzerland (15) . Despite the relatively small share, from the other side of the coin, it shows that the sales of such products would have a considerable growth in the long term.

The types of organic products have been expanded from crops (grains, vegetables, fruit and herbs) to animal products such as meat, milk, fish and honey. Many other processed organic food (e.g. oil, sugar, sweets, desserts, bread, wine, food additives and etc.) have entered the markets now. There are also non-food organic items including animal feed, cotton, hemp, natural pesticides and repellent, cut flower, potted flower, leather, wood and wood products, as well as the ingredients of some cosmetics and cleansing agents (16) . With all these items, organic products could almost cover all aspects of life.

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International Trade Centre

The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the technical cooperation agency of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) for operational, enterprise-oriented aspects of trade development. ITC supports developing and transition economies, and particularly their business sector, in their efforts to realize their full potential for developing exports and improving import operations.

Modes of sales

The sales of organic products are more diversified than conventional products. Some common modes of sales include farmers' markets, farm-stalls, community-supported agriculture system, health food shops, specialized shops or eateries. Supermarkets in many developed countries have got involved in organic marketing in view of the market potential of these products in recent years and the trend has moved forward rapidly. However, the importance of supermarkets varies in different countries, for instance, in the UK , Switzerland and Denmark , an estimation of 70% of all organic fruit and vegetables are sold through supermarkets but the figures of Germany , the Netherlands and France only range between 20-30%. (15)

Nevertheless, the percentage of sales of organic products by supermarkets has been increasing. It is undeniable that the promotion and extended networks do enhance the exposure of organic products and thus have positive impact on the expansion of market. It also paves the way for organic product to move into the mainstream consumption habit.

The ITC market survey has observed some trends which could be served as reference for Hong Kong (15) :

•  More consumers have confidence in local rather than imported organic products;

•  Existence of small supermarkets which only sell fully organic products;

•  Provision of organic products with biodegradable packaging;

•  More convenience organic food (e.g. pre-packed organic salads);

•  Sales through the internet, often combined with boxes schemes, are growing in importance;

•  Public canteens and catering buy more organic food.

Organic Certification

Food safety becomes an importance concern of consumers due to infamous food issues frequently occurred in the conventional agricultural system. Those who have chosen organic food are also worried about contamination or accidents. That is the reason why people have developed some kinds of guarantee systems for organic food, i.e. standards and certification for organic products. These are further enhanced by accreditation systems which ensure that all systems could work together to attain a minimum guaranteed level.

Such systems were operated by civilian organizations in the 1980s. They set production or operation standards, conduced inspections and issued certificates. In the 1990s, governments began to get involved in the matter by setting standards, defining organic products while inspection and certification were handled by accredited organizations. 43 countries have already established their own organic standards and certification systems and 12 are under the drafting stage (11) .

Several international organizations, including the IFOAM (17) , Codex Alimentarius Commission (18) and the EU (19) , have formulated some multinational standards as a means to coordinate different ones in different countries. The IFOAM is a non-governmental body with 750 members organizations from 100 countries while Codex Alimentarius Commission, a body set up by FAO and WHO, is responsible for setting food standards. These three sets of international standards are common in general with a few variations.

As mentioned earlier, accreditation systems have been established in addition to certification systems. These systems are either set up by governments in order to ensure the standard of certification systems, or developed to facilitate international trade. As a result, our food enters a control mechanism which had never appeared in history. One might feel lucky that our food is under such strict monitoring systems, but might also feel sad that our food need such systems nowadays.

Organic Movement in China

Though China 's organic movement is still at its initial stage, the future is indeed encouraging. Certified organic agricultural land area increased from 450 hectares to 4,000 hectares between 1995 and the end of 1997. Another 10,000 hectares of wild collection area has also been certified organic. The business turnover of organic products in China has experienced a 10-fold increase in recent years, amounted to US $6 million in 1997/98 (16) . About two third of all provinces and autonomous regions have been involved in organic activities of different levels, with the eastern part of the country has the fastest development.

In 1992, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture established the Green Food Development Centre which certified food under two grades – the “A Grade Green Food” (which allows the use of limited and specified agrochemicals at safe levels) and the “AA Grade Green Food” (which is quite close to organic food). 48 farms were certified as “AA grade” by the end of 2001. The State Environmental Protection Administration of China established the Organic Food Development Centre in 1994. The Center provides certification service and assists international organizations to certify organic product in the country. Before 1999, more than 95% of the certified organic products of China were exported. However, food safety issues have become a growing concern in recent years, resulting in a rapid growth of the domestic organic food market. It is estimated that the share of organic products in China 's food market sales might rise to 2% in the coming few years (11) .

Government Policy

Although it seems that the demand and supply of organic products are both growing on a forward trend, a long-term growth of organic movement would much depend on the support by governments.

As mentioned above, governments could intervene through regulating organic certification systems as a means to ensure quality and credibility. Governments' involvement could also arouse attention to organic products and their labels. It might have positive impacts on the popularization of these products.

Many European Union (EU) governments have been providing financial assistance in the conversion of conventional farms to organic ones. For examples, the UK increased its budget of the Organic Farming Scheme to support conversion to organic agriculture by 50% (20 million pounds per year) for 2001-2002 (20) . Many European governments have also mapped out action plans and growth targets for the development of organic agriculture. The Netherlands and Norway aim to have 10 % of agricultural land converted to organic in 2010. The UK aims at increasing total organic area to 30 % and domestic organic food retail sales to 20%. Though such goals might not be fully attained due to various unexpected and uncontrollable factors, the overall organic arable land in EU countries might reach 25% in 2030 (13) according to the current development and their objectives.

No matter how fast the organic movement goes, a clear direction would undoubtedly benefit a persistent development trend. Such clear goals might also draw attention in the society and hence could be observed as a form of recognition and publicity for organic products.

In fact, the fundamental elements for long-term development are research and training. However, insufficient resource was put in such aspects in all countries. For example, the UK only allocates 1.2% of its agricultural development funding for organic farming per year (20) , which would set a limit to the development of organic farming in the long run.

Looking ahead

Globally speaking, it appears that organic production and markets are developing on a track of forward direction, official concerns have been given in different countries and places, including Hong Kong and it seems that organic is on a way with good prospect. However, more efforts should still be put in a couple of areas before organic way of life could take roots in the mainstream lifestyle of most people – locally, it need more improvements in technical know-how on organic farming and the development of stable markets; internationally, there is the need to establish a strong and reliable certification and monitoring system which provide a favourable background for further expansion of organic activities.

 

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1.5 本地有機產品的發展

 

朱佩坤 香港有機農業協會主席

1980 年代末的毒菜事件,接二連三地發生,香港市民開始關注個人健康及環境保護。同時,一些致力環保的人士,相繼在新界及離島開設農場,實行有機耕作。踏入 1990 年代,健康食品逐漸普及化,不少健康食品零售店亦紛紛試向外地入口有機產品。商品多來自北美、澳紐、歐洲及日本等地。但由於當時有機概念欠清晰,供求均不穩定,有機產品始終未能進入主流市場。

直至 2000 年,經過多次禽流感事件後,有機耕種才被業界認同,而有機產品亦開始廣泛被市民接受。根據香港漁農自然護理署於 2000 年進行的有機蔬菜市場調查,顯示出本地市場對新鮮有機農作物的需求強烈。這除了吸引有志之士加盟有機生產行列外,也影響不少從事傳統耕種的農民,轉型實行有機耕種。此外,更多入口商及零售商隨即轉向拓展有機產品市場 ,使產品的種類、質素及數量大大提高。百貨公司及超市更設置有機產品的貨架,嘗試引進國外、國內的農產品及加工 食品,加以推廣。從外地進口的有機產品種類繁多,由初期的穀麥、麵粉、乾果、食油、調味醬料、飲料如咖啡、茶、豆奶、果汁等,增加至蔬果、肉類及林林種種的副食品、零食等,更引申到各類衣服及個人護理用品。尤其是那些已經得到國際認證機構成功認證的產品,更受一些對有機標籤有認識的消費者歡迎。

本地生產的有機產品,主要為有機蔬菜。早期由於一般農民的生產技術欠成熟以及缺乏資源,導致供應量極不穩定,使本地生產的有機菜可說並不起眼。經過業界團體及農友們多年來的努力及署方的協助下,有機耕種的技術得以提升,蔬菜的品種明顯地豐富起來。至今有機蔬菜的產量雖比前較穩定,但供應量仍未達理想,再加上銷售渠道比較單一,令供求難以配合。

有見及此,多個地區性民間組織正積極開拓不同的銷售渠道。除了以往透過菜統處批銷外,現更發展了會員制度及共同購買(消費者合作社)等直銷的方法,不但使更多市民可以從不同渠道購買有機蔬菜,同時改善農友的生活。此外,香港有機資源中心於 2002 年成立,主要為香港有機生產及加工食品建立一套適用於本地的標準和認證系統。這除了能給予消費者信心外,亦可為本地生產的有機菜樹立獨特的形象。所以,香港有機農業協會成員及業界支持者仍然對本地生產的有機產品前景充滿信心,厚望他日能成為食品市場的主流部分 。

 

1.5 Local Organic Product Development

Chu Pui Kwan , Chairperson, Hong Kong Organic Farming Association

At the end of the 1980s, there were repeated cases of poisonous vegetables (vegetables contaminated with pesticide residues over standard and cause hospitalization of some people) happened in Hong Kong . That induced the awareness of health and environmental protection among local citizens. At that time, some environmental conscious people started to practice organic farming in the New Territories and outlying islands. In 1990s, more health food shops imported organic products from North America, Australia , New Zealand , Europe and Japan in responding to the popularity of health foods. Yet, since the concept of organic was still quite vague and the supply was not consistent, the product was still in a niche market.

From the 2000s, after several outbreaks of bird flu, organic farming becomes recognized by the agricultural sector and familiarized by the Hong Kong people. According to an organic vegetable marketing survey conducted by the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department in 2000, local market showed strong demands for fresh organic vegetables. The trend encourages more conscious people to establish organic farms and attracts more conventional farmers to convert to organic agriculture.

In addition, more importers and retailers are interested to explore the organic market. They introduce more and better quality organic products with wider varieties. Certain department stores and supermarkets set specific shelves for organic products. They import organic produce and processed products from China and overseas and support with promotion schemes. Now, we have a wide range of imported organic products available. These include cereal, flour, dried fruit, oils, seasonings, coffee, tea, soy-milk and juices at the beginning, and extend to vegetables, fruit, meat and various kinds of non-staples and snacks, to clothing and body care products. Those internationally recognized certified organic products are particularly well received by consumers with knowledge about organic labels

Local organic production is mainly focused on organic vegetables. At the beginning, due to the immature production technique and lack of resources, the supply was very unstable. As a result, the production was not significant at all. After years of efforts made by the sectors and the operators with support from the government, the technical know-how is obviously improved, the supply is obviously widened. Up to the moment, so far, the production is much more stable. Yet, the supply quantity still needs to be increased while the marketing channel needs to be widened. Otherwise, the supply and demand of the organic produce cannot match easily.

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1.6 有機的疑惑

 

隨著大眾對飲食健康日趨重視,市場上亦不斷湧現許多打著天然健康旗號的產品,有機便是其中信譽極佳的表表者。可是,在琳瑯滿目的產品面前,消費者往往會產生一堆問號:究竟付了較高昂的價格,是否購得名副其實的貨品?

作為關注健康的消費者,不惜付出更多的金錢購買有機產品,可惜卻常常徘徊於正假難分的疑竇之間,結果不是寧濫勿缺的姑且一試,便是寧缺勿濫地打退堂鼓。報稱有機,是否可信?是如假包換的優質產品,抑或是店員一知半解下的濫竽充數,又或是商人心存僥倖的魚目混珠?

充滿疑惑的有機市場

綜觀目前的市場,根據產品的有機狀態,大致可分為數類:

(1) 有第三者作有機認證的產品

主要是入口貨,產品包括各色加工食物及飲品。通常由產地完整包裝,包裝上常有「 Certified Organic 」(經認證的有機產品)、「 Certified by xxx 」(由 xxx 認證)及 / 或附有有關認證機構的標誌等資料,有些更可能有國際有機農業運動聯盟( IFOAM )或美國農業部( USDA )的認可標誌。所謂第三者,是指獨立於生產者及消費者或買賣雙方的機構,經過第三者作認證的有機產品,對消費者而言,是信心的保證。

有些加工食品或個人護理用品,其中的某些成分可能用了有機原料,產品的成分表上,可能列明某成分是經某機構認證的。加工產品亦可根據有機材料的百分比標明是「 Organic Product 」(有機產品)、「 Made with Organic Ingredient 」(含有機成分)或其他字眼,這些字眼或相關規定,會因為不同的認證機構而有異。

另外,須留意認證機構是否認證有機產品的,因為現時世界上的認證或認可系統發展得十分蓬勃,有認可產品可供素食者食用的,有認證產品不含基因改造成分的,亦有認證產品中某類成分的生產及含量的,以上的認證都與有機認證不同,不能混為一談。有關香港常見的有機產品認證機構,可參考附件,消費者如有疑問,亦可向售賣者查詢或在網上搜尋,絕大多數有機認證機構都有網頁提供有關資訊。

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美國的有機標籤

美國按國家的有機標準規定,有機產品的標籤類別有:

。 100% 有機:完全以有機方法製成

。 有機:成分中,最少 95% (除鹽和水以外,按重量計算)屬有機的加工產品

。 含有機成分:含 70-95% 有機成分的產品可將此字眼展示於正面

。 有機成分少於 70% 的產品只可在其成分表中列出有機材料

(2) 自行宣稱有機的產品

所有沒有經第三者作有機認證的,都屬這一類。包括目前所有本地生產的有機菜;部分由國內或國外入口,沒有預先包裝的有機菜;一些原來入口時有認證,但在香港拆開以零售包裝出售的有機產品;一些外國入口有預先包裝的產品,亦有機會屬這一類。

這些產品主要在包裝上、價錢牌上或其他標示上,表示是有機的,這項宣稱,可能是由生產者、入口商、批發商、零售商(如超市)或其他機構提供的。但隨了這些宣稱之外,並沒有獨立有機認證機構的標誌。

經菜統處批銷的本地有機菜,都是由漁護署有機耕作轉型計劃的本地農民所生產的,雖然他們用特別的標籤分辨這些產品,且有自己的監管系統,但菜統處仍不能算是獨立的第三者,因為菜統處處長亦是漁護署署長,而且兩個機構都有職員協助參與該計劃的農友。故目前經菜統處出售的有機菜,仍屬自行宣稱是有機的產品。

這類產品的有機狀態或有機完整性,不一定比有認證的差,只是我們無從得知。這些產品沒有認證,可能是因為該地區尚未有認證系統,如香港;又或者生者的規模太小,認證費用比例上變得昂貴,不值得做。消費者想了解這類產品的質素,最好就是多向店員、生產者或其他有關人士查詢,甚或有空時到訪本地的有機農場,以了解他們的運作、主持人的理念、機構的背景等等。

(3) 宣稱中含有與有機相關字眼的產品

在生產者或者經銷商提供的產品資料中,並無明確表示是有機,只是含有一些生產過程中,有使用或沒有使用某些物料的資料,例如:無化學肥料、無化學殺蟲劑、不含農藥、有機肥栽種、堆肥栽種……等等。由於有機產品並非單純是用或不用某類物料來生產,而是有一整套的操作標準,故此產品的生產過程用了或沒有用到某些物料,不一定就是有機。有關以上產品的真正生產過程,要向生產者查詢後才有分嘵。

另外,亦有些資料含有一些容易與「有機」混淆的字眼,例如:天然、野生、環保、綠色、無公害、無污染、健康、……等等。這些詞彙部分含有特定的意義,部分則屬宣傳字眼。

•  無公害︰

國內有無公害蔬菜的認證,以確保產品的生產過程合理地使用化學農藥及化學肥料,產品上的農藥殘餘沒有超過特定的標準。這些產品已比一般無任何認證的蔬菜有較多的保證,但卻不是有機。另外,亦有可能有部分產品宣稱是無公害蔬菜而未獲認證的。

•  綠色食品:

由隸屬於中國農業部的綠色食品發展中心發出的產品認證,分 A 及 AA 級兩類,前者可用低毒的化學農藥,即並非有機,而後者則十分接近有機。 A 級綠色食品的標籤是綠地白字白圖案, 10 位數字的產品編號中最後一個號碼為「 1 」。而 AA 級綠色食品的標籤是白地綠字綠圖案, 10 位數字的產品編號中最後一個號碼為「 2 」。

•  野生:

「野生」這個概念,亦包含在有機生產中,只要產品合乎一定的標準,經認證後,亦可標籤為有機產品出售。但純粹「野生」產品,並不等同有機,它的實質含意,仍需向零售商或生產者查詢。

•  天然、環保、無污染、健康:

均無特定清晰一致的標準,可能跟有機毫無關係,它們的實質含意,惟有向經銷商或生產者查詢。

(4) 其他疑似個案

。 品牌為「有機」的蘋果。

。 訂購宣傳品上著明是有機茶,還有文字介紹有機原理,但產品包裝上完全無提及產品是否有機。

。 價錢牌上標明是有機橙,但網袋內的橙貼某著名橙品牌的標貼。

。 超市的價錢牌上標明是有機青瓜,但與其他沒有標明是有機的青瓜放在一起,而且兩者價錢一樣。

我們無意明示或暗示這些產品的質素或有機完整性更高或更低,只是很多時候根本無從得知。在廣泛推行有機認證之前,我們只可以多發問,以獲得更多產品的資料。另外,順便向讀者澄清,綠田園基金到目前及在可預見的將來,都無在農場以外的菜檔售賣「綠田園有機菜」,沒有生產豆漿或者薄餅,亦沒有在粉嶺以外地方設立分場。

混淆不清的結果

對消費者而言,以有機的價錢購買非有機產品,固然等同物非所值地白費金錢,也對真正有機生產者及供應者不公平;更值得關注的是,我們以對待有機食物的安心態度去處理非有機產品,會否反而誤了健康?試想,滿以為略加清洗便可開懷大嚼的有機菜,原來只是沾滿農藥而需徹底浸洗的農藥菜,後果可想而知。另外,市場上出現似是而非的有機產品,令消費者難以分辨何者才是真正有機, 終致無法對產品完全信任。

消費者的選擇

香港有機資源中心的有機認證制度尚在擬訂階段,預計會在 2005 年實施。那麼,現在我們除了購買已獲國際機構認證的有機產品之外,是否陷於無助的困局?

事實上,作出最適當選擇的直接方法便是增加對市面上有機產品的認識──參觀本地有機農場以了解其作業方式是有效途徑之一;另外, 我們也可向供銷者多加查詢,或多或少也可透過消費者的力量,對市場構成一點壓力,使非有機產品無所遁形,不容易混雜於有機市場之中。

 

1.6 How Can I Know Which One is Really Organic?

Heaps of “health products” appear in the market in responsible to importance attached to health diet. Among them, organic products undoubtedly have the best reputation. However, consumers might be doubtful of the “status” of so-called organic products in many occasions – do I really buy valued goods as claimed when paying higher prices?

Although health conscious consumers are willing to pay more for organic products, they might be quite frequently encountered the difficulty of distinguishing real or fake organic products. As a result, they would either try their luck or choose to avoid buying. Are these products really organic, or wrongly claimed as organic either deliberately or due to ignorance of sellers?

An organic market full of doubt

Organic products in the current market can be classified into a few categories:

(1) Organic products certified by a third party

Mainly found in imported goods, which include processed food and beverages. These are often packed in places of origin and labeled with “certified organic”, “certified by xxx”, attached with logos of certifiers. Some of them may even have a “IFOAM Accredited” or “USDA” ( United States , Department of Agriculture) seal. A third party refers to an agent that is independent of producers and consumers. In other words, products certified by a third party can be treated as a guarantee for consumers.

Some processed food or personal care products use organic materials as part of their ingredients and that certification of certain materials may not be listed in the ingredient description. Processed products may also be marked as “organic product”, “made with organic ingredient” or other wordings according to the percentage of organic materials used. These wordings are regulated differently by different certifiers.

Apart from that, consumers should pay attention to whether certifiers are certifying organic products. As there are various types of certification and accreditation systems, some products are certified for vegetarian consumption, non-GM or containing certain ingredients and these should not be mixed up with organic certification. Common organic certifiers found in Hong Kong are listed in Appendices. While in doubt, consumers could ask suppliers or search on websites. Most organic certifiers have set up their websites to provide relevant information.

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Organic Labels of the US

Labelling options under the US National Organic Standards:

。 100% organic :

Products that have exclusively produced using organic methods.

。 Organic :

Processed products that have at least 95 % of the ingredients organically produced (by weight, excluding water and salt)

。 Made with organic:

Products with 70-95% organic ingredients on the front panels

。 Products with less than 70 % organic ingredients can list the organic items only in the ingredient panels.

(2) Self-claimed organic products

Products which do not have third party certification are put under this category. These include all presently locally produced organic vegetables; some un-packed vegetables imported from China or overseas; some imported certified organic products which have been unpacked in Hong Kong and sold in small packs; or sometimes some imported pre-packed organic products.

All these products are claimed to be organic on its packages, price labels or other labels, which may be provided by producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers (e.g. supermarkets) or other organizations. Apart from that, their organic status is not certified by any third party.

Local organic vegetables distributed through the Vegetable Marketing Organization (VMO) are produced by local farms which take part in the Organic Conversion Scheme under the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). VMO sells the produce under a special logo and they have their own monitoring system, but it cannot be considered as an independent third party. It is because that the director of the VMO is also the director of AFCD and the staff of the two bodies has provided assistance to farmers. In other words, organic vegetables sold through VMO should be classified as self-claimed only.

The organic status or organic integrity of self-claimed products might not necessarily be worse than those certified one. The point is that we know little about that. These products might be unable to obtain certification just because there is no local certification system (e.g. Hong Kong ); or because it is not worthwhile for small producers to spend on the relatively high costs of certification. If consumers want to have better understanding of the quality of these products, the best ways is to ask their suppliers and producers, or visit local farms to understand their operation, operators' production ideology and the background of organization etc.

(3) Products with wordings related to the organic concept

The products have not been clearly claimed as organic, but note that certain materials are or are not used during production processes, for example no chemical fertilizers, no chemical pesticide or insecticide, use of organic fertilizers or compost etc.

However, organic products are not just produced by using or without using certain materials, but should be in compliance with a set of operational standards. The claim does not provide sufficient information if the product is really organic or not. Since only the producers know the actual production processes of their products, the only way to know is to ask the producers.

Some wordings shown to the consumers may also be easily mixed up with “organic” e.g. natural, wild, environmentally-friendly, green, pollution free, health …. Parts of these have their special meaning while some are just publicity gimmicks.

Pollution-free :

Certification for pollution free vegetables in China refers to those grown with a reasonable amount of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and has residues under certain limit. These products provide better guarantee than those without any certification, but cannot be defined as organic. Please note that some products might be claimed as pollution-free but have no certification at all.

Green Food :

Certification issued by the Green Food Development Centre under the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. “A Grade Green Food” allows the use of limited and specified agrochemicals at safe levels (obviously, it is not organic) while “AA Grade Green Food” is very close to organic ones. The label of “A” grade food has a green background with white words and patterns, the 10-digit certification code ends with “ 1” . “AA” grade food label has a white background with green words and pattern, the last digit of the food code is “ 2” .

Wild :

“Wild” is included in the concept of organic. Those tallied with organic standards can be labeled as organic after being certified. However, a product having only a “wild” claim is not necessary equivalent to organic. Consumers should ask suppliers or producers for details.

Natural, environmentally - friendly, zero pollution and healthy :

There are no clear and consistent definitions for the terms. They could be totally not related to organic, the only way to know their real status is to ask suppliers or producers directly.

(4) Other suspected cases

。 Apples of “Organic” brand,

。 Order form of “organic tea” explains the concept of organic, but the package of the product does not mention organic at all,

。 Price label says the oranges are organic ones, but the products themselves are attached with normal brand name stickers,

。 Cucumbers with “organic” price label put together with non-organic ones in supermarkets. There is no price difference between them.

We have no intention of assessing the quality or organic integrity of the above products, the fact is that we know nothing about them. Before the implementation of a broadly used organic certification system, the only thing we could do is to “ask more” about the information of products. We also want to take this opportunity to clarify that the Produce Green Foundation, so far and to the foreseeable future, has not set up any stall outside our farm to sell organic vegetables, has not produced soy milk nor pizza, has not set up a branch farm outside Fanling.

The Consequences of Confusion

Consumers who bought non-organic products by organic prices have undoubtedly waste their money, the situation is also unfair for real organic producers and suppliers. It is even more worthwhile to note that it might pose threat to our health if we treat non-organic food as organic ones. Just imagine, what would happen if we wash and consume “organic” vegetables which contain chemical residues and need thorough soaking and cleaning? Besides, with the presence of organic products without clear identifiable status, it is difficult for consumers to put fully confidence in them.

Consumers' Choice

An organic certification system is still being prepared by the Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre and is expected to put in place in 2005. Does it mean that we are in helpless situation apart from buying those organic products certified by international bodies?

In fact, what we could do at this stage is to enhance our understanding of organic products in the market – through visiting local farms to learn about their operation and asking suppliers about their goods could, to a certain extent, exert consumer pressure on the market, which would make it difficult for non-organic products to cause confusion in the real organic market.

 

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1.7 甚麼是有機認證?

 

香港有機資源中心

為什麼需要有機認證

由於要分辨有機產品是否真正有機,不能倚靠產品的外觀。在一些直銷系統內(如社區支援農業系統),生產者與消費者有較密切的接觸,甚至會在不同程度上,一起計劃生產、運輸、推廣,以至制定價格,所以消費者對生產方式有較多的了解。故此,生產者未必需要花額外的工夫,消費者也不需要花額外的金錢,去對產品的有機素質提出核實保證。

但當銷售渠道改變(產品經超市出售),或者地理上有阻隔(產品要賣去較遠的地方),又或是其他因素的影響,消費者與生產者之間的「距離」逐漸拉遠,消費者不能對生產過程有足夠的了解,市場便會要求一個認證系統的出現,好為生產、消費雙方建立互信。認證系統的確立,可以幫助消費者尋找真正的有機產品,避免假貨影響真正有機生產者的信譽及生計,而且更可以為有機產品建立自己獨特的市場,鼓勵更多生產者轉營有機。

甚麼是有機認證?

認證是一個用來核實產品是否符合某一特定標準的系統。不少產品及服務都可以通過不同的認證系統來向消費者提供質素保證,例如電器產品的安全認證、 ISO 一系列的產品及服務質素認證,又或者適合素食者食用的認證……等,林林總總。一般來說,認證服務的提供者都是獨立的第三者,而非產品供應人(第一者)或產品購買人(第二者)。這個獨立的第三者應該是一個能平衡各方利益的中立團體。

有機認證與其他的認證系統最重要的不同處,在於它強調產品的生產程序,多於產品本身的質素。有機產品必須經過一定的生產程序生產,例如須使用有機、天然或對環境無害的物料、生產過程不應對環境造成破壞、有機生產與非有機生產必須有分隔……等。依照這個生產程序生產出來的產品,才能稱得上是「有機」。這較單純看產品是否含有禁用物資嚴格得多。

其他產品的認證可以用測試來確定產品的質量,但有機產品卻不可以。產品若驗出含有禁用物質,當然不能算是有機;但即使產品驗不到任何禁用物質,都未必就是有機。若某些產品在生產過程中,雖然沒有使用任何禁用物質,但卻對周遭環境造成破壞,那它也不能算是有機產品。

所以有機產品的認證,必需要倚賴一批經專業培訓的檢查員,對生產過程及文檔記錄作詳細檢查,然後讓認證團體,根據檢查員報告,決定是否頒證。獲得頒證的生產者,便可使用認證機構的特定標章,以告訴消費者這些產品已經獲得認證團體的認證,證實是經有機生產過程生產的。故此,有機認證可以說是生產者與 消費者之間的溝通媒介。

香港的有機認證系統

現時大約有 43 個國家制定了有機生產及加工的標準,另外約 12 個國家正在草擬當中。香港則在 2000 年至 2002 年,分別有三個不同機構,制定了三套有機標準,包括漁農自然護理署的《有機作物生產守則》、香港有機農業協會的《有機生產標準》及香港有機認證中心(前稱幼聯大自然教育中心)的《有機耕種守則及有機驗證章則》,其中後者更提供認證服務。

及至 2002 年年底,香港浸會大學、香港有機農業協會和綠田園基金,獲得蔬菜統營處農業發展基金的撥款,共同成立了香港有機資源中心,旨在 2005 年前,為香港制定一套適用於本地的有機標準及認證系統,藉此推動香港的有機農業發展。

中心包括監督委員會、標準委員會和認證委員會。其中標準委員會負責制訂一套適用於香港的有機標準;認證委員會負責制訂有機認證系統,及審核申請,作出頒證與否的裁決。而監督委員會主要負責審議並通過有機標準及認證系統,並擁有中心認證系統的最終上訴審議權。三個委員會的成員包括有農民、加工業及零售業界、環保人士及科學家、消費者代表、政府代表、社會賢達及主辦機構代表。

目前香港有機資源中心已經過廣泛的諮詢,制定了第一份《有機生產及加工標準》。現正草擬認證系統的所需文件,並籌備檢查員訓練課程,期望於 2004 年年底開始作初步認證,以微調系統,直到 2005 年年底,可以完全開始認證工作。屆時,本地的有機消費者及生產者將更有保障,系統在確保市民享受安全和優質食物的同時,亦為下一代締造一個生態平衡的生活環境。

 

1.7 What is Organic Certification?

The Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre

Why Organic Certification?

The organic quality of any organic product cannot be verified by its appearance. In certain direct selling systems (like Community Supported Agriculture schemes), producers may have closer contact with their consumers or even plan, distribute, market and set prices together with their consumers to different extend. In these systems, consumers have good understanding of the production method of the operators. So, the producers may not need to make extra effort and the consumers may not need to pay more money for someone to verify the quality of the products whether they are true to the claim.

As distribution channel changed (i.e. via supermarket), or having geographic barriers (i.e. sell to farther areas), or base on other reasons, the “distance” between producers and consumers becomes wider apart, the need for a verification or certification system becomes higher. The certification may build trust between parties. It may help consumers in obtaining real organic products while protecting genuine organic farmers by avoiding fake products infringing their creditability and livelihood. Certification is a market instrument that allows producers to create and maintain a separate organic market, and thus may encourage more farmers to farm organically.

What is Organic Certification?

A certification is a system to confirm the conformity of certain products to a set of standard. Certification is not rare nowadays. Many products and services may be certified by various certification systems to provide quality guarantee, such as safety certification of electrical appliances, ISO product and service certification, or even vegetarian food certification. The certification is usually carried out by an independent third party, neither the supplier (the first party) nor the customers (the second party). The independent third party is neutral and has a balance of interests rather than being controlled by any one party.

Organic certification differs from other certification systems in their emphasis on the production system rather than the product itself. An organic product must be produced according to a set of production methods. For example, the material input applied must be organic, or natural or harmless to the environment; no damage to the environment during the production is allowed; organic and non-organic production must be separated; … etc. Only those product produced according to the standard can be claimed as organic. That is a more serious system than just ask if the product is free from certain prohibited materials.

Other product certification can be verified by used testing. But the “Organic” quality cannot be verified by just chemical testing. Testing, in some cases, may be used to detect non-compliance but is not sufficient to proof the compliance. If a product is produced

without any application of prohibited material, but the environment is damaged during the production process, then the product cannot be claimed as organic.

The primarily part of the organic certification is careful inspection of operation methods and comprehensive audit trail of production documents by some professionally trained inspectors. Their reports allow certification body to determine if the producer can be certified or not. When certain products are confirmed of their organic quality by a certifier, the producer may apply the seal of the certifier or the certification mark onto the products. The seal is to inform consumers that the operators are following the rules and the products are certified organic.

Local Organic Certification Systems

Some 43 countries have already developed their own organic standards and certification systems while 12 are at their stage of drafting. In Hong Kong , we have 3 sets of organic standards being developed by 3 organizations from 2000 to 2002. These 3 organizations are the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Hong Kong Organic Farming Association and the Hong Kong Organic Certification Centre (formerly the Garden Farm) where the Hong Kong Organic Certification Centre provides certification services as well.

By the end of 2002, the Baptist University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Organic Farming Association and the Produce Green Foundation, with the funding supported from the Agricultural Development Fund of the Vegetable Marketing Organization, established the Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre for setting up a local organic standard and certification system by 2005 to promote the local organic movement.

The centre is formed with a Standard Board, a Certification Board and a Governing Board. Where the Standard Board sets organic standard, the Certification Board sets certification system and makes certification decisions while the Governing Board approves the standard and the certification system and to service as the final appeal body for certification decisions. Members of the Boards include farmers, processors/retailers, environmentalists/scientists, consumers/public interests, government, worthy personages and HKORC co-organizers.

At present, the centre has set its first organic standard after an extensive public consultation. It is now preparing all certification documents, and an inspector training. It is expected to carry out pilot certifications by the end of 2004. After fine tuning of the details, the certification system may possibly fully in place by the end of 2005. The certification will enhance the supply of healthy organic food of high quality and create an ecologically sound and harmonious environment for our next generations.

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1.8 參考資料 Reference

 

(1) "Organic Foods vs. Supermarket Foods: Element Levels", Journal of Applied Nutrition , 45: 35-39, 1993. (http://www.organicconsumers.org/Organic/organicstudy.cfm)

(2) Regulating Pesticides in Food – The Delaney Paradox , National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington , D.C. , 1987. (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309037468/html/)

(3) Agriculture Pesticides – “Management Improvements Needed to Further Promote Integrated Pest Management” , United States General Accounting Office, 2001. (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01815.pdf)

(4) Pesticide Poisoning Database in SEAR Countries , WHO, 2001. (http://whqlibdoc.who.int/searo/2001/SEA_EH_534.pdf)

(5) “Pesticide residues in conventional, IPM-grown and organic foods: Insights from three U.S. data sets.” By B. Baker, C. Benbrook, E. Groth , and K. Benbrook. Food Additives and Contaminants , Volume 19, No. 5: 427-446, May 2002. (http://ebfarm.com/reference/residue-study.pdf)

(6) Update: Pesticides in Children's Foods – An analysis of 1998 USDA PDP Data on Pesticide Residues , E. Groth, C. Benbrook, K. Lutz, Consumers Union, 2000. (http://www.ecologic-ipm.com/PDP/Update_Childrens_Foods.pdf)

(7) Conservation Implications of Climate Change: Soil Erosion and Runoff from Cropland , Soil and Water Conservation Society, 2003. (http://www.swcs.org/docs/Climate%20change-final.pdf)

(8) “Nitrates and Nitrites in Drinking Water”, Center for Environmental Quality, GeoEnvironmental Science and Engineering Department, Wikes University . (http://wilkes1.wilkes.edu/~eqc/nitrate1.htm)

(9) Agriculture Pesticides – Management Improvements Needed to Further Promote Integrated Pest Management , by the United States General Accounting Office, 2001. (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01815.pdf)

(10) The Biodiversity Benefits of Organic Farming , the Soil Association, 2000. (http://www.soilassociation.org/)

(11) The World of Organic Agriculture – Statistics and Future Prospects - 2003 , M. Yussefi and H. Willer, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, 2003. (http://www.ifoam.org.)

(12) Overview on World Trade in Organic Food Products, the US Market and Recent Trends , R. Kortbech-Olesen, International Trade Centre, UNCTAD/WTO, presented on BioFach Congress, 14 February, 2003, Nuremberg , Germany . (http://www.intracen.org/mds/sectors/organic/biofach.htm)

(13) World Agriculture: towards 2015/2030 – An FAO Perspective , FAO, 2003. (http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y4252E/Y4252E00.HTM)

(14) Overview World Markets for Organic Food & Beverages (forecast) , International Trade Centre, 2002. (http://www.intracen.org/mds/sectors/organic/)

(15) World Markets for Organic Fruit and Vegetables - Main Findings And Identified Opportunities for Developing Countries , International Trade Centre, 2001 (http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/y1669e/y1669e00.htm)

(16) Organic Food and Beverages: World Supply and Major European Markets , International Trade Centre, 1999. (http:///www.intracen.org/mds/sectors/organic/)

(17) IFOAM Basic Standards for Organic Production and Processing , International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, 2002. (http://www.ifoam.org/standard/norms/ibs.pdf)

(18) Guidelines for Production, Processing, Marketing and Labelling of Organically Produced Food , Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1999/2001. (ftp://ftp.fao.org/codex/standard/en/CXG_032e.pdf)

(19) EU Regulation 2092/91 (Consolidated Text) , European Communities, 2002. (http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/consleg/pdf/1991/en_1991R2092_do_001.pdf)

(20) Organic Farming in the United Kingdom 2002 , Soil Association, 2002. (http://www.organic-europe.net/country_reports/great_britain/default.asp)

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