The first organic grain drying and storage facility in the Baltic region has opened in Ida-Viru County, helping fill a gap in the production chain that makes organic produce fairly scarce at the retail level.
The new facility in Avinurme will dry and store grain from all over the country.
While many smaller organic food shops and sections in larger supermarkets have sprouted in past years, it has been difficult for some products to get organic certification because they have been processed in a conventional facility.
An organic growers' cooperative called Wiru Vili built the terminal for 4 million euros. Its storage hoppers store 10,000 tons and a central bulk storage area, 7,000 tons. The capacity of the drying facility is 60 tons an hour, ETV reported.
"To this point half of the growers were selling their grain labeled conventional as they couldn't market it anywhere. It was very low for Estonia and no one was willing to buy it at the organic prices, as the same facility can't process organic and conventional grain," said Tammistu Agro partner and member of the Wiru Vili cooperative, Mait Nõmmsalu.
The buying-up price for organic grain ranges 30-50 percent higher than conventional, so farmers were losing a bundle.
The new terminal should also help increase the share of the organic grain products marketed in Estonia.