Thursday, July 31, 2008

NTUC FairPrice launches first organic produce certification programme

By Imelda Saad
Channel NewsAsia
31 July 2008

SINGAPORE : Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice has launched a certification programme that guarantees the integrity of the organic produce along its entire supply chain.

FairPrice's Pasar Organic range is a new housebrand range of organic produce which comes with these labels.

It is audited by Singapore's Agrifood Technologies and gives customers the assurance that the organic produce is more than just pesticide-free.

The vegetables under the Pasar range are organically grown and harvested from six different farms in Thailand.

Stringent organic practices are applied to the farms, transportation, storage facilities and retail stores.

For example, organic farms have to be about 10-20 kilometres away from industrial land. There has to be enough space between inter-cropping to ensure the soil is rested, and organic produce is packed in special containers away from non-organic ones.

"Because we go direct to the farms, so we put in our own certification. We are, on average, able to sell the produce about 50 per cent cheaper than average of other organic products," said Ng Ser Miang, Chairman of NTUC FairPrice.

FairPrice's organic range will include more than 30 types of vegetables including Asian varieties such as "chye sim" (cai xin).

And if sales are anything to go by, the demand for organic products in Singapore is growing. FairPrice said sales of its organic produce grew by 20 per cent last year compared to the year before.

For now, the Pasar organic range is available at 10 FairPrice stores, including its new Fairprice Finest outlet at Thomson Plaza.

The Thomson Plaza Fairprice Finest outlet has a "Just Organic" section, which features over 800 varieties of organic products including condiments, baby food, beverage, snacks and household cleaners.

The outlet is the second FairPrice Finest store, a new retail concept started by the labour movement, to bring quality food products at affordable prices to Singaporeans.

The concept has proven to be a hit. FairPrice said since the first store was opened at Bukit Timah Plaza in August last year, sales have gone up by 50 per cent.

Monkey says: NTUC starts their own organic certification scheme and only from thailand! hmmm must try to interview them!

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