With over a thousand people enrolled, the fourth edition of “Green Rio / Rio Orgânico” exceeds expectations and reinforces the position of this event as a business platform for organic and sustainable products. The event, organized by Planeta Orgânico, took place on May 20 and 21 at the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens, and was sponsored by SEBRAE, the Confederação Nacional do Comércio (National Trade Confederation) , Itaipu Binacional and Banco do Brasil.

During the opening ceremony, the Rio de Janeiro Healthy School Meal Award was launched. The Mayors of Três Rios, Paraíba do Sul and Itaperuna and the Environment Secretary for Pinheiral signed the commitment to the project, which has the support of SEBRAE. Planeta Orgânico invited Danish researcher Bent Mikkelsen, of Aalborg University, to talk about the school food topic. Representatives of Education Secretariats, of SENAI/FIRJAN and of SEBRAE also took part in the panel on the subject of school meals.

Novelties among Exhibitors

Companies bring their novelties, presenting cosmetics from the Amazon region, sustainable pirarucu (a freshwater fish), fruit and honey from the South and the Northeast, cereals, Portuguese olive oil, agave sweetener, family farm products, handicrafts and other products of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

Fazenda Tamanduá, from the State of Paraíba, brought organic spirulina, which reduces cholesterol, enhances the immune system and benefits the intestinal flora. The entrepreneur Pierre Landolt, the person who was inspired to produce it, hopes to include the product, for example, in school meals. Another novelty at the event was the freshwater fish pirarucu and pintado from the company Mar&Terra, which raises fish by the aquiculture method in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Monama, from São Paulo, presented its range of organic products, such as cereals, peanut butter, flours and other lactose and gluten-free products.  Family farm products were also present, thanks to the Agrarian Development Ministry’s office in Rio de Janeiro.

The Amazon Forest-Based Cosmetics Project presented products from seven states: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Roraima, Rondônia and Tocantins. They range from shampoos, toilet soaps, vegetable sponges and essences to perfumes and ingredients for the cosmetics industry. The project is supported by SEBRAE and has been increasing its presence in the Rio de Janeiro market. Itaipu Binacional took part once again, presenting its socio-environmental program Cultivando Água Boa (Cultivating Good Water), as well as organic products and handicrafts made by the Indians in its region.

Presentations during the Conference

In order to address the topic of school meals, Bent Mikkelsen presented his research on local purchases as a challenge to the global food chains, and also addressed the issue of children and young people’s relationship with nature in a world that is increasingly globalized and technological.

In addition to the school meal theme, which was given special emphasis in the event, other issues received attention at Green Rio 2015. In the Research, Innovation and Market panel, Reginaldo Morikawa, Director-Superintendent of Korin Agropecuária, presented data showing that the organic product market alone has advanced at average rates over 20% a year in Brazil, reaching about R$ 2.5 billion in 2014 and with prospects of reaching R$ 10 billion in 2020. In global terms, it has a turnover above US$ 70 billion. In the same panel, entrepreneur Maria Fernanda Rizzo talked about her experience in founding Empório Papinha, a chain of stores that sell organic baby food, which sold R$ 1.1 million in 2014.

Business Rounds

Green Rio held international business rounds with buyers from Peru, Colombia, Denmark and Estonia. The meetings were organized by the Brazilian Association of Food and Beverage Exporters and Importers (Abba), within APEX Brasil’s “Brazilian Flavors” project. Abba’s executive president, Raquel de Almeida Salgado, pointed out that conquering the international market is possible, but requires great commitment on the part of companies. In addition to the international rounds, there were meetings organized by Planeta Orgânico, with buyers from restaurant and supermarket chains, focusing on the domestic market.