Organic project

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Given the current condition of organic products in the United Arab Emirates, increasing the level of promotion for organic products will increase the awareness of the product. The paper shall look at a definition of organic products, identify some of its users and develop a questionnaire for tackling the issue of promoting awareness in the United Arab Emirates market. (Consumer's Union, 2000)

These assertions come against the background of the speech made by the country's Minister for Health - His Excellency Humeid Al Quttami. He claimed that organic products were healthy options and that they would promote safety this was the reason why the Minister made a call to the country's producers and marketers to make organic products more available and present them at much lower prices than they were currently going for.

Definition of organic products
Products can either be conventionally made/ grown or they can be organically grown. Products that are made organically are those ones that exert minimal influences on their surrounding environments or those ones with very low levels of additives / artificial additives during the process of production. What most people fail to realize is the fact that there is a distinct difference between natural products and organic ones. Natural products do not adhere to certain international or national standards. Consequently, the definition of natural products varies from place to place. However, most people agree that natural products are usually those kinds of products that have not been processed or those ones that have not undergone any artificial processes. (Stolze et al, 2001)

Organic products from plants are usually grown in such a manner that no chemical fertilizers are applied during their growth phase. Instead, natural fertilizers made in farmer's backyards are used to add nutrients to soil. Additionally, organic products are different from conventional products because when the latter plants are grown in the fields, they usually entail the use of insecticides to get rid of harmful insects. However, in the former category, this is done through natural mechanisms such as disruption of mating patterns among other things. Besides these, when organic farmers are tackling weeds, they normally do this through natural processes such as mulching or crop rotation instead of the use of herbicides.

Organic products derived from livestock products such as cheese, milk and the like are usually obtained from animals that are exposed to the outdoors. Additionally, diseases in these livestock are managed through the process of rotational grazing or cleaning one's shelter, providing the animals with nutritional food among other methods. The purpose of doing this is to ensure that diseases are prevented rather than dealt with when they have occurred. On the contrary, conventional products derived from animals are usually obtained from animals that have been injected with growth hormones or those eons that are given processed medication to tackle diseases outbreaks. (Eskenazi, 1999)

Organic products are normally those ones that have been certified internationally or nationally. Consequently, this is an indication that the products have met certain criteria laid out for organic foods. Besides this, it should also be noted that organic products either fall in three categories
• One hundred percent organic
• Organic
• Products made with organic ingredients

When products are one hundred percent organic, they usually contain one component or if they contain more than one, then it is likely that all these ingredients are organic. When a product is classified as organic, then chances are that the product has been made from organic ingredients that take up about ninety five percent of that product. Besides these, some products may be categorized as those ones that have been made with organic ingredients. In this case, these are products that have approximately seventy percent of their products covering them.

Users and uses of the products
Most people buy organic products in the form of food. In other words, they purchase them so that they can eat them. There are a series of products that fall under this category. Organic foods derived from plants are the most common and some of them include vegetables, fruits and even spices. There are those organic foods that are derived from animals and these include, milk, cheese or butter. The other category is that of processed organic foods some of them include items such as breakfast cereal, corn chips or pastas. It should be noted that the last category may not be fully or one hundred percent organic. (Hansen, 2001)

In other instances, people use organic products as forms of medicines. In this regard the product is a form of treatment. Usually, most organic medicines are used as alternative sources of treatment from herbalists or alternative medical practitioners. These products are largely exported from China and other similar countries.
Other people use organic or natural products for beautification purposes. For instance, other may use natural products such as honey as a form of facial treatment. Additionally, we also have organically processed or created shampoos for enriching hair. These and many more uses are available to organic or natural product consumers.
There are various types of Organic consumers in the United Arab Emirates. There are those that purchase the commodity once a week while there are others who do this on a daily basis. Additionally, others do this occasionally. However, statistics indicate that numbers are rising day by day.

Consequently, if more marketing or promotion is done, then chances are that the number of persons who are using or purchasing organic products will increase tremendously. It has also been shown that the highest forms of organic consumers are those who buy organic foods. Most of the products chosen by such individuals include
• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Meats
• Breads
• Juices
• Some prepared foods

It should be noted that many people who are purchasing these natural or organic products are also concerned about their environments. Most of them tend to be inclined to use products that place less artificial fertilizer in the soil, products that leave fewer residues of herbicides in the air or also those ends that do not require greater amounts of processing that will eventually use up too much electricity. Also, many people who utilize organic products are also cautious about the excessive artificial processes such as radiation that may require too much use of the latter process. Consequently, they look for such eco friendly products. It should be noted that natural products within the UAE have a larger percentage of the market share than organic products. Consequently, much has to be done to promote this kind of product. (Consumer's Union, 2000)

A large percentage of organic consumers are concerned about their health. Some of these concerns may actually be real in their lives. For instance, some people opt not to eat non-organic foods because they react to chemically processed ones. For instance, it is possible to find that these people have allergies against the ingredients in non-organic ones. It should also be noted that the largest percentage of individuals who buy organic foods for health reasons are those ones who are scared of the effects that the product might have on them.
Some people believe that organic products will sustain agriculture and therefore buy organics to support UAE farmers. However, others may oppose genetically modified foods and thus opt to buy natural or organics, besides this, many organic or natural food consumers are those ones who are conscious about their nutritional needs. They usually believe that these products have more nutrients and would therefore be more beneficial to them. Also, others purchase organic products so as to avoid negative effects associated with products that have been injected with hormones. (Stutchbury, 2008)
Questionnaire design of testing the hypothesis
The first process of the questionnaire will be identification of the objectives of the questionnaire. In this case, the questionnaire will be:
"To assess whether there is relationship between promotion of organic products and awareness of the product."
If there is a positive correlation between these products, then chances are that it can be done. However, if there seems to be no positive correlation, then another method needs to be used to promote awareness.
The second aspect of the questionnaire design is identification of the population size. In this case, since the questionnaire is being done about the level of awareness of organic food, then it will imperative for those persons who will be considered in the research to represent the views of all food consumers. They need to be persons who have either heard about organic food or those who have not. Consequently, this is a large population size.
Thereafter, there is a need to look into the sampling strategy. Since the population size will be very large, it is essential to use a sampling strategy that will ensure accurate representation of the views among the UAE people. Also, it is essential to find people who belong to both categories being investigated. i.e. those who have already been exposed to promotional strategies about organic foods and those who had not. This means that fifty percent of the sample of the participants will come from one group and vice versa.
The sample needs to come from areas that are likely to have these promotions for instance, though persons who purchase foods in the organic sections of supermarkets or those who go to organic stores. In order to access this information, it will be essential to select these organic stores. Three of them will be selected randomly and the consumers who buy commodities from those areas will also be chosen for the questionnaire. (Paddock, 2007)
In order to access people who have little information about organic food, it will be wise to select people randomly in the street and then ask them whether they have heard about organic products. If they respond in the affirmative then they will not be considered. However, if they respond negatively, then there is a need to look for other people, who have not heard about.
Questions within the questionnaire will first be tried among a small sample size so as to ascertain that they can be easily understood. This questionnaire will be a combination of ten questions and the questions will be structured. The reason behind choosing a structured interview is that it is easier to do analyses. Answers are preset and participants can be guided by them. If open ended questions had been used, then chances are that the responses would be too varied and that most of them would be very difficult to quantify.
The other reason why this approach was chosen was that most participants may not have any idea about the issue under discussion. Consequently, giving them multiple choices will go a long way in enhancing the response rates. However, it should be noted that there are certain problems that may rise out of this issue. For instance, care should be taken to ensure that participants are not biased towards certain responses by the nature of the questions. Also, in certain circumstances, participant responses may not be found among the list. In order to minimize the chances of this occurrence, then one should first test the questionnaire among a pilot group (as mentioned earlier) and then look for ways of rectifying mistakes.
Other mechanisms that can be used to test the hypothesis
One method that could replace the use of structured questionnaires is personal interviews. This method could be effective if both sides of the coin were examined. In other words, if there was equal representation from the side of people who had received information about organic product promotions with those ones who had never heard of organic foods. This will go a long way in ensuring that the issues that have not been addressed will be tackled.
It can also be possible to ascertain this method using secondary research. In other parts of the world such as the United States and Europe, consumption of organic products keeps rising from day to day. Many pieces of literature have indicated that the reason why this has occurred is that there is continuous marketing and promotion on the part of the organic producer. It would therefore be useful to examine the consumption of organic products prior to intense promotion; this could be during the nineteen nineties. Thereafter, one can compare this with the figures currently being consumed today. If there is a gradual increase of consumption rates in those years to the present day, then one can assert that promotions do increase consumption of the product. (Chensheng, 2006)
Organic foods boost the level of health for any particular individual. Some UAE consumers have already realized this. It is therefore imperative to look for methods that can boost awareness of organic products. Consequently, the research above has looked at one of the mechanisms which is through questionnaires. Others include personal interviews and secondary data from other countries.

Appendix: Sample questions
1) Have you ever heard about organic products(If no go to 6, if yes go to 2)
2) Where was did you hear about the promotion?
3) Had you tried organic products prior to the promotion?
4) What about the organic product promotion (if at all) made you change your mind about organic products?
5) What caused you to buy organic products regardless of the poor promotion?
6) Do you think that food gown without artificial fertilizers can make you healthier?
7) What qualities do you look for in your food products?
8) If a medical practitioner and other organic experts were to tell you that organic foods are healthy, would you consume the product?
9) Have you ever bought other food products as the result of a promotion?
10) What qualities would you look for in a good promotion?

Stolze, M. et al (2001): Environmental impacts of organic farming; Journal of Agriculture, environment and ecosystems, 18, 11, 26
Hansen, B. (2001): Approaches to assess the environmental impact of organic farming; Economics and policy, 6, 15, 90
Paddock, C. (2007): EU researchers say organic food is more nutritious; Toronto University Press
Eskenazi, B. (1999); Exposure of children to pesticides and their effects on health; Environmental Health perspectives; 107, 4, 409
Stutchbury, B (2008): Did your shopping list kill a songbird, the New York Times, 30th March
Consumer's Union (2000): Are organic foods as good as they sound; Press release, 15th December
Chensheng, L. (2006): Organic diets lower children's exposure to pesticides; Environmental Health Perspectives, 114, 26, 290

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