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ecology farming nr 5 // November 2011

AND

THE STORY OF THE GLOBAL ORGANIC MARKET ACCESS

REDUCING TRADE BARRIERS NIGERIA THE SLEEPING ORGANIC GIANT


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Table of Con tents

DECember 2011 // NR 5

economy & market

organic&health

8  The

15  Antibiotics

story of the Global Organic Market Access project

in agriculture:

reducing their use.

need for harmonization across Europe?

By Peter Brul

Certification of organic catering.

Organic practices lead the way in

Reducing barriers to international

30  A

trade. By Diane Bowen.

Six 20 

expert opinions on reducing trade barriers

By Melanie Lukas, Carola Strassner

Country report

E&F asked six experts if we can

16  Nigeria

reduce trade barriers through equi-

The sleeping organic giant of Africa.

valence and at the same time main-

tain organic integrity in the markets.

The 36 

organic labels do consumers prefer?

Consumer recognition and willing-

By Mike Johnson

organic sector grows in Korea

By Diane Bowen & Peter Brul

& Anne-Kristin Løes

Which 33 

10,000+ organic farms.

By Gunnar Rungren

ness to pay for different labels.

By Meike Janssen

The 44 

ifoam family of standards

A global tool for multi-lateral ­equivalence.

standards & certification progress in developing an Asian regional organic standard.

By Joëlle Katto-Andrighetto

24  Rapid

Asian regional standards.

By Jon Manhire

Building 27 

events supports “Future makers” One World Award. By Gila Kriegisch

an ‘Africanowned’ certification standard

12  Rapunzel

Organic 40 

World Congress

The IFOAM General Assembly. By Denise Godinho

The Organic World Congress in South Korea attracted nearly 2000 participants from 76 countries exchanging knowledge, research and ideas. During the General Assembly of IFOAM, a new World Board was elected. E&F reports on both events.

East Africa’s regional standards.

By Gunnar Rundgren

And more.... Editorial 5 News 6 Column by Gunnar Rundgren 7 Calendar 51


introduction

Denise Godinho

Peter Brul

Opening pathways for organic trade For most organic operators seeking to get their

Notwithstanding the challenges, much has

products onto international markets, the world

been achieved. The GOMA Project (co-ordina-

of certification can be a daunting one. Where

ted by IFOAM, FAO & UNCTAD) has contribu-

there are no multilateral agreements, multiple

ted to reducing trade barriers and, as the title

certification can often be the only option. This

of its 2012 conference indicates, is working

increases the costs of accessing foreign mar-

to help the flow of good organic products.

kets and hampers the expansion of organic

IFOAM’s Family of Standards draws the line

production and consumption worldwide.

between standards that are organic and those

At a time when the contribution of small-scale

that, after assessment, are considered to not

farmers to the world’s food security is increa-

meet organic standards. Participatory Guaran-

singly being recognized, the reduction of trade

tee Systems (PGS) are slowly starting to be

barriers is crucial – to avoid these farmers

accepted as a conformity assessment permit-

being excluded from potentially remunerative

ted under organic regulations. Earlier this year

value chains.

they were recognized by the Brazilian Govern-

The organic sector has always faced the dif-

ment. IFOAM’s recently published policy

ficult task of keeping the delicate balance bet-

briefing ‘How governments can support PGS’

ween providing reliable assurance systems with

highlights how governments can promote the

formal rules that allow us to confidently classify

growth of the organic sector thereby, creating

a product as organic, and – staying true to its

jobs and improving livelihoods in the agricultu-

roots – facilitating the inclusion of small-scale

ral sector.

organic farmers in strategies for accessing glo-

There are few sectors that can pride themsel-

bal markets.

ves on being as diverse the organic one. Yet

And never has the importance of preserving

with this diversity comes responsibility: the res-

organic credibility and achieving consumer

ponsibility to not leave behind - in the pursuit

loyalty, through a unified understanding of

of profit – small scale farmers, the often mar-

the values of the organic sector been greater.

ginalised backbone of the world’s food supply

Fraud, a multiplicty of eco-labels and standards

system. We have a responsibility to continually

that settle for sub-optimal requirements – see-

raise the bar and improve organic practices

mingly to fast-track ‘organic’ results – all call

and to share the lessons we learn with others,

into question the viability of translating our four

so that our successes can be multiplied.

principles – ecology, health, fairness and care –

In the organic world this job is never done. But

into practice.

we would not have it any other way.

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

5


// Building Confidence: USDA NOP visits Chinese certification bodies and authorities The USDA National Organic Program recently published a report of its on-site assessment of four USDA accreditation and certification bodies and of a meeting with officials from the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) that was held in November 2010.

News

The report, which was largely favourable, described assessments of the activities of the four European-based, NOP accredited, certification bodies operating in China (EcoCert S.A., BCS Öeko Garantie GMBH, Institute for Marketecology -IMO and Certification of Environmental Standards - CERES). NOP auditors visited the Chinese branch offices of the four certifying agents and reviewed their certification and compliance activities. Inspections of certified operations were conducted in the provinces of Fujian, Hunan and Shandong, regions that produce or handle (i.e. process or export) a wide range of

// UN Accepts IFOAM Declaration to Label Genetically Modified Foods Bonn/New York,r October 1, 2011

6

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

products including spirulina (algae), tea, quick frozen vegetables, peanuts, soybeans, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. Several samples of these products were collected, shipped and subsequently tested for pesticide residues at the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Field Laboratory Services in North Carolina. NOP auditors also collected information regarding the regulatory and research system surrounding China’s growing organic industry. The report states that the auditors found “a welleducated and dedicated certifying agency staff managing an organic certification system in a dynamic and complex environment”. The NOP auditors also noted that the accredited certifying agencies were competent, professional and committed to protecting organic integrity. They noted that the certifying agencies carried out frequent inspections (both announced and unannounced), had robust pesticide residue sampling programmes, competent inspectors, knowledge of multiple organic standards and organisational support and assistance from their parent

In anticipation of the Right2Know march from New York to Washington D.C. October 1 – 16, representatives of the International Organic Agriculture (IFOAM) presented a special declaration to the United Nations. The declaration requests that the United Nations commit all of its member nations to a world without genetically modified foods and to identify existing genetically modified foods on product labels. The UN delegation included IFOAM representatives, Joseph Wilhelm, founder of Rapunzel organic products and the force behind “the march;” and his employees.” Maria-Luisa Chavez welcomed the delegation and accepted the declaration on behalf of the UN. She will pass it on to the President of the General Assembly – the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.

Wilhelm believes that consumers have the right to know whether the food they buy is genetically altered. “20 percent of all manufactured foods in the US contains genetically modified ingredients,” Wilhelm said. “We hope the Right2Know march will raise consumer awareness and influence US legislators to require that labels indicate whether the product contains GMOs.” The UN declaration was signed by Katherine DiMatteo, IFOAM president; Joseph William, IFOAM member; and Bernward Geier, NGO coordinator. It outlined the critical issues facing consumers in the US and Europe. “Biased agriculture policies, research and development agendas, and private sector strategies favor short-term individual profits,” the declaration states. “This (behavior) is to the detriment of the long-term sustainable use of natural


companies in Europe. They also noted some shortcomings, including approvals of incomplete Organic System Plans and inspection reports and inadequate procedures for reviewing labels. NOP issued notices of non-compliance for these infractions, with the requirement that the certifying agencies demonstrate that they have undertaken the appropriate corrective actions. In Beijing, NOP auditors met with government representatives from the China National Accreditation Administration (CNCA), which is responsible for developing, promulgating and implementing state laws, regulations and rules concerning certification and accreditation, including organic accreditation. At the conclusion of the meeting, the U.S. and Chinese announced their intention to initiate and exchange visits to learn more about the two countries’ organic standards. The full report of the visit is available from the NOP Newsroom (July 2011) on the NOP website, www.ams. usda.gov/nop.

resources for the benefit of all and is responsible for hunger, poverty, climate change, and the destruction of habitats and biodiversity.” Companies leading production of genetically modified foods include Monsanto in the US and BASF and NovartisSyngenta in Europe. Unless radical changes to curtail GMOs are adopted worldwide and the subsidy for agriindustry and monocultures is greatly reduced, the future of organic farming and healthy, natural foods will be threatened. IFOAM and its 750 member organizations in more than 110 countries are dedicated to uniting and leading organic farmers and businesses worldwide to work toward a safe and natural food supply. More information under: www.genfrei-gehen.de www.right2knowmarch.org www.IFOAM.

Gunnar Rundgren Diversity is the driver of organic evolution

Co lumn

In her closing speech for the IFOAM General Assembly, the President Katherine di Matteo called upon the organic movement and IFOAM to spend less of its energy on standards and certification and more on market development, support to farmers and alike. I couldn’t agree more. It should be recognised that the development of standards and certification has been very useful for the organic sector and there are parts of the world where this is a task that still needs priority. But we also have to realise that the whole guarantee system takes an enormous amount of resources and energy, from producers, from national organic movements and governments and from the international community: resources and energy which could be used for market development or advising producers. The guarantee system ensures that each producer is audited every year. But who will ensure that all producers get an advisory visit, or that producers are helped in their marketing efforts? The World Fair Trade Organization says that, “the certification systems have changed Fair Trade to such an extent that sales of products are the main measure of success instead of the welfare of producers.” Unfortunately, this tendency is not isolated to Fair Trade, but is also found within other social and environmental labelling systems, including organic ones. The developments of guarantee systems are almost uniquely driven by the actors who have a vested interest in them, such as the standard-setters, certification bodies and accreditors; not by the constituents (consumers, producers and the trade) they are supposed to serve. There are diminishing returns on the ever-increasing demands and procedures. For many years organic standards and certification systems have established credibility for the sector. Yet all the procedures added over the past decade have added little extra credibility, while increasing the complexity and costs considerably. For sure, the standards and certification systems need development, but development should not always mean more procedures - it could also be the opposite: to get rid of unproductive procedures. Standardisation brings some benefits if it facilitates trade. Yet this is also somewhat contradictory to the values of the organic movement, which heralds diversity. There is surprisingly little understanding of this paradox within the organic sector. Those who believe that standardisation is the right tool for evolution should read Darwin once more; diversity is the driver of evolution. Excessive standardisation, especially when standards are prescriptive and not goal oriented, stymies development and will leave organic behind other, more flexible, concepts. It was apparent at the Organic World Congress how many other huge challenges the organic sector faces and that we need to be more outward looking instead of studying our navel. The challenge is to transfer the whole world’s food production system into something that is truly sustainable or, as I prefer to say ‘regenerative’. To take on this challenge we need to be brave again, as the early organic pioneers were. We need to have visions and we need to look ahead, far beyond the narrow constraints of the certified organic market place.

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

7


MARKET

ACCES

CLEARING PATHWAYS Reducing barriers to international trade

the story of the Global Organic Market Access project 8

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


economy & market

IFOAM is working together with two United Nations agencies, UNCTAD and FAO to harmonize organic standards. This unique project, has drawn attention from academic researchers and others interested in this novel form of international cooperation.

Diane Bowen

A problem to tackle Organic agriculture and trade offer a way to strengthen agro-ecosystem services and present social and economic oppor-

tifications for each of those countries. If

tunities to people, especially those in

I have more market opportunities I could

search of food security and ways out of

truly support my family.” Even for those

poverty. One of the main challenges for

producers and traders with sufficient

the continued development of organic

resources to obtain multiple certifications,

agriculture is that trade pathways have

these requirements constitute an additional cost, akin to an extra tax on organic

become clogged with multiple organic standards and technical regulations.

products sold in these countries often

trade, which conventional products are

Products that conform with one set of

need to comply with the requirements of

not subject to.

organic standards and certification requi-

these private systems. Joining forces to find solutions

rements may also need to comply with other organic standards and requirements

The different requirements of both

Ten years ago, IFOAM, the United Nations

in order to be traded internationally. As

governmental and private sectors creates

Conference on Trade and Development

examples, the US, Japan, Argentina,

an obstacle to trade, which constrains

(UNCTAD) and the United Nations Food

China, India, Brazil, and soon, South

organic market development and denies

and Agriculture Organization (FAO) dis-

Korea, all require imported organic pro-

market access to many, including hund-

covered that they had common concerns

ducts to be approved by certification

reds of thousands of small-scale produ-

about the problem, arising from some-

bodies directly under their government’s

cers in developing countries. According

what different considerations. For IFOAM

control system to ensure compliance with

to Charles Kimani, a vegetable producer

the situation, which was rapidly worsening

national standards. In addition, markets in

in Kenya, without these obstacles “I could

as new standards and regulations came

some countries are greatly influenced by

sell my organic products in more coun-

into force, threatened the expansion of

private standards and certification, and

tries without having to get different cer-

organic agriculture and IFOAM’s mission

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

9


of expanding organic agriculture world-

countries – including government orga-

vide norms-based, international common

wide. UNCTAD, which promotes the inte-

nic regulators and standardizing bodies,

denominators which can serve as core

gration of developing countries into the

accreditation and certification bodies,

references for assessing the equivalence

world economy, saw that opportunities for

traders, national organic movements and

of production/processing standards and

poor producers to gain access to lucrative

meta-organizations. In all the participants

certification requirements among different

value chains were being compromised.

came from 29 governments, eight inter-

countries and even private organic gua-

FAO, which sees organic agriculture as a

governmental/international organizations

rantee systems. “Use of these tools will

pathway for increasing food security, rural

and 25 private sector/civil society orga-

lead us to more efficient and multilateral

development, sustainable livelihoods and

nizations. The ITF studied the problem,

equivalence assessments,” notes Sophia

environmental integrity, saw that these

looked at models for solutions from other

Twarog, long-time UNCTAD member of

market access challenges were sup-

sectors and recommended solutions. At

both the ITF and GOMA Steering Com-

pressing opportunities for agriculture to

the end of 2008 the ITF issued six recom-

mittees.

achieve these goals.

mendations for harmonization, equivalence and other forms of cooperation.

One reason for the many successes of

In 2002 these organizations organized a

Most of these were related to government

the ITF was the high level of coopera-

conference on the subject, which came

processes, although the involvement of

tion between its members. The ITF, its

to be known as the Harmonization Confe-

the private sector was also stressed,

objectives and processes, attracted international attention, including being the subject of an academic dissertation on

More standards multiplies the task of achieving equivalence

meta-governance and standard setting from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. This document concluded: “By combining a relationship building aspect of the process with an enhancement of the understanding of and importance attached to the harmonization and equi-

rence. Held just after BioFach in Nurem-

due to its strong representation in the

valence agenda, the ITF has truly resulted

berg, the conference drew two hundred

Task Force. The ITF also went beyond

in a paradigm shift”…. “Not only are

speakers and participants from govern-

its original mandate and developed two

people who co­operated in the Task Force

ment and intergovernmental agencies and

practical tools to assist in the assessment

more likely to also collaborate outside of

the private sector. Participants urged the

of the equivalence of organic standards

the framework provided by the ITF (but)

three organizations to organize a public-

and performance requirements for cer-

the atmosphere has changed more widely

private international task force to further

tification (the organic equivalent of ISO-

across large parts of the worldwide orga-

explore the situation and recommend

65). The International Requirements for

nic regulatory community.”

solutions. The International Task Force on

Organic Certification Bodies (IROCB) and

Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic

the Guide for the Assessment of Organic

Implementing the tools

Agriculture, was born, thanks to financial

Standards and Technical Regulations (also

and recommendations: GOMA

support from the Swedish International

known as EquiTool), were launched by

Although the partners were very satisfied

Development Cooperation Agency (Sida),

executives of IFOAM, UNCTAD and FAO

with the results of the ITF, particularly the

the Government of Switzerland, and later,

at the 8th and final ITF meeting. Generi-

tools, they realized that the ITF project

the Norwegian Agency for Development

cally, these are called the ITF tools. After

was like a company with a research and

Cooperation (Norad). The Task Force (ITF),

some revision of EquiTool in 2011 adding

development programme and a manufac-

worked from 2003 until 2008, bringing

an annex called the Common Objectives

turing process, but lacking any marketing.

together once a year, key private sector

and Requirements of Organic Standards

This was due to the limited timeframe

actors from developed and developing

(COROS), both of these tools now pro-

of the project. So in 2009 the partners

10

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


economy & market

obtained support from Norad for a follow-

ter input, has enabled ACAO to restart

up project, called Global Organic Market

a stalled development process. It has

Access (GOMA), to assist countries and/

already made considerable progress on

or regions to implement the tools, the

developing a text for a common orga-

recommendations and to foster and

nic regulation. This regulation includes

spread the message of harmonization,

standards for organic production and processing, for organic certification bodies,

equivalence and cooperation. Norad generously agreed to the project before it

force has now been established. These

control and enforcement mechanisms and

(or GOMA’s partners) knew exactly which

activities are paving the way for potenti-

import requirements. The next step in the

countries and/or regions would become

ally establishing a Multilateral Agreement

process will be the elaboration of indivi-

involved in the project, although towards

(MLA) within the region for mutual recog-

dual country versions for notification to

the end of ITF’s existence it had conduc-

nition of participants’ systems of regula-

the WTO. The WTO notification process

ted workshops in Central America and

ting organic labelling and other forms of

includes an international comment period.

Asia and identified prospective projects in

cooperation. This will include countries

Barring major objections from the WTO

those regions.

that do not (yet) regulate organic label-

application, the harmonized regulation

ling and trade. If the MLA comes into

should be ready for implementation in all

Designing an Asian framework

being, Asian countries could be setting

six countries by early 2012.

for cooperation on organic labelling

the pace for a more efficient multilate-

and trade

ral regional trade system – not only in

Facilitating and assisting elsewhere

Because there had been high partici-

the organic sector, but in general. The

GOMA is also involved in promoting the

pation from Asia in the ITF, GOMA set

innovation shown by the organic sector

recognition of the East African Organic

out to explore if ITF might be implemen-

in developing a cooperative model has

Production Standard by the European

ted there. It organized two workshops,

caught the attention of the Trade and

Union. This will enable East African pro-

one in Nonthaburi, Thailand and the

Agriculture Directorate of the Organization

ducers to export to this important market

other in Shanghai, China, linked with

of Economic Cooperation and Develop-

by complying with a standard that is

other organic events in these locations.

ment (OECD), whose ITF representative

regionally appropriate and understanda-

These workshops were well-attended

informally commented to the ITF Steering

ble to them. (This initiative is explained in

and recommended setting up a GOMA

Committee, “you (ITF) are our heroes!”

another article in this issue). Projects for training governments to implement the

Asia Working Group with the aim of establishing a Framework for Organic

Complete harmonization in Central

tools for equivalence assessments are

Labelling and Trade within Asia (to cover

America and the Dominican Republic

also underway in Canada, The Philippines

East, South-east and South Asia). The

All five Central American countries (Costa

and Indonesia. New requests for informa-

Working Group first met in Mumbai in

Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador,

tion, training and technical assistance on

December 2010, and one of its main deci-

Nicaragua and Panama), plus the Domi-

harmonization, regional cooperation and

sions was to develop an Asia Regional

nican Republic are developing a harmo-

equivalence have been received from the

Organic Standard (AROS) to serve as an

nized regional organic regulation with

South American and African continents,

instrument/tool for establishing regional

the support of GOMA and the Instituto

although these cannot be acted upon

equivalence – a regional interpretation of

Interamericano de Cooperación Agricul-

now, as the GOMA project is scheduled to

EquiTool (see related article in this issue).

tura (IICA). GOMA is providing financial

end in May, 2012. At that time, the part-

The Working Group also decided to use

and some technical support to the project

ners will be able to report that much has

IROCB for assessing the equivalence

with a focus on facilitating stakeholder

been achieved and more opportunities for

of countries’ certification requirements

involvement, while IICA is managing the

harmonization and equivalence are on the

and to establish a task force to look at

project’s operations (meetings, accounting

horizon.

aspects of governmental supervision of

and communications). GOMA financial

certification and enforcement. This task

support and its encouragements for bet-

Contact the GOMA project at www.goma-organic.org

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

11


Gila Kriegisch

ONE WORLD AWARD 2012:

RAPUNZEL SUPPORTS “FUTURE MAKERS” 12

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


Events

OWA Laureates Rachel Angola and Hans Herren. Both work on the ‘push-pull’ method for combating corn pests.

Events

The German organic food manufacturer Rapunzel and the international umbrella organization for organic agriculture (IFOAM) are opening the call for nominations for the 3rd international “One World Award“. We welcome nominations for innovative ideas, projects and/or individuals that contribute towards protecting the climate and the environment and promote social responsibility. The nominations should incorporate the three pillars of sustainability: ecology, economy and the social aspect. Joseph Wilhelm, German organic food pioneer and owner of

Nominated individuals and projects should integrate the three

RAPUNZEL Naturkost GmbH, was inspired to establish a new

areas of sustainability (ecology, economy and social commit-

international award to support those whose actions reflect the

ment) and should have made extraordinary achievements. In the

reality that we all live in one world. The One World Award (OWA)

first selection round, the OWA jury will screen all the nominati-

honours and supports individuals and projects who give globa-

ons and select five finalists. Each of these finalists will receive a

lization a positive dimension. OWA laureates show what is pos-

2,000 Euro cash award. In the second selection phase, the jury

sible and what needs to be done in order to make our world a

chooses the One World Award Laureate from the five finalists.

better and fairer place. Joseph Wilhelm describes his motivation

The OWA Laureate is presented with a coveted OWA statue and

for establishing the OWA.

a cheque for 25,000 Euro.

“This award was not only inspired by our company philosophy but it is also a matter that is near to my heart. I see the OWA ini-

In addition to the One World Award, RAPUNZEL and IFOAM also

tiative as a counter balance to the day-to-day examples of injus-

present a “Lifetime Achievement Award” – to honour outstanding

tice, unfairness and conflicts in our world and I hope that it sends

pioneers and/or individuals who have dedicated their life to the

out positive signals to encourage, inspire and motivate people.

development and support of the organic movement. The Lifetime

The only continuity in life is change”

Achievement Award winner is presented with a One World Award

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

13


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5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

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The OWA is meant as a counter balance to the day-to-day examples of injustice and and conflicts in our world

statue. Nominations for either award should be submitted before

positive social repercussions. These projects include Hand In

December 31, 2011. The application form should be completed

Hand, the Genfrei Gehen (GMO-free marches) and the One World

in English.

Award. For more information visit www.rapunzel.de

Details:

The OWA Laureates 2010

IFOAM has assumed patronage for the One World Award. The

The second OWA was awarded in 2010. The award ceremony

OWA Jury includes Joseph Wilhelm, the two Right Livelihood

took place during Rapunzel’s One World Festival in Legau. The

Award Laureates, Dr. Vandana Shiva from India and Tewolde

OWA Laureates in 2010 were Hans Herren from Biovision and

Egzeabher from Ethiopia, as well as IFOAM Vice-President

Rachel Angola. Hans Herren founded the Biovision Foundation in

Roberto Ugas from Peru.

Switzerland in 1998. This foundation aims to improve the living conditions of African people. The foundation’s work includes

More information about the nomination process and the nomina-

malaria prophylaxis, the formation of an information network for

tion details and other information is available at www.one-world-

small peasants and the dissemination of the “push-pull” method

award.com. Here you can find full details about nomination

for combating corn pests. Rachel Angola is responsible for the

criteria and a list of all previous finalists and laureates. You can

“push-pull” support group in her village Yenga in Kenya. This

use this list to evaluate the chances of your nomination being

self-help group also promotes innovative, agricultural methods to

successful or simply for inspiration. Self-nominations are not

other farmers.

permitted.

The One World Lifetime Achievement Award“ went to the organic pioneer Bhaskar H. Save from India for his life’s work as an

Background information:

ambassador of organic farming.

For more than 35 years, the organic food manufacturer Rapunzel

For more details visit gila.kriegisch@rapunzel.de

has been leading the way in implementing projects around the globe that protect the climate and the environment and have

Nominations for the 2012 One World Award are open until December 31, 2011. Find out more at www.one-world-award.de ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

15


The sleeping organic giant of Africa

Nigeria mike Johnson

The global sales of organic products reached $50 billion in 2009 with most sales and consumers in the United States and the European Union. The major organic producers and exporters are Asia, Latin America and Australasia. Very little organic produce comes from the African continent.

W

ith 212,304 hectares, Uganda

age life expectancy of about 47 years.

Local market development

has the most organic land

The Olusegun Obasanjo Center for

The local organic market is informal and

in Africa. The value of its

Organic Research and Development

growing, with visible opportunities in the

exported organic products in 2008 was

(OOCORD), a local NGO dedicated to

near future. Most organic production

estimated to be around $30 million. The

the development of research and know-

and activities are done in the central and

equivalent figures in Nigeria are negligible.

ledge exchange on sustainable, organic

south western parts of Nigeria, generally

In 2009, there were only 8,202 hectares

agricultural systems has decided that it

by agricultural universities and research

of organic land in Nigeria (Olugbenga,

is high time for Nigeria, a potential agri-

institutes. The farm sizes of these insti-

2011), despite Nigeria being four times

cultural giant in Africa to wake up from

tutions vary from 1 to 4 hectares of land

larger than Uganda in terms of area and

her slumber and provide sufficient (orga-

that is either in transition or non-certified.

population.

nic) food and incomes for its 155 million

The farms are managed by the university

inhabitants. This led OOCORD to consult

lecturers and students. The products cul-

Before the advent of the petroleum indus-

the Agro Eco - Louis Bolk Institute in the

tivated include amaranths, chorchorus,

try in Nigeria in the 1960s, the agricultural

Netherlands.

celosia, turmeric, ginger, lemongrass,

sector flourished. It contributed about

citrus fruits, tomatoes, okra, maize, plan-

60% of GDP, and provided sufficient and

The two parties discussed how progress

tain, fluted pumpkins and palm kernel.

healthy food for local and export markets.

could be made and came up with a stra-

These products are sold on the university

The wealth generated by agriculture was

tegy, the first phase of which included

campuses. Another influential player in

used in the construction of massive buil-

information provision, training and the

the local market of organic agriculture in

dings, such as Cocoa House and Univer-

development of local and international

Nigeria is Dara / Eurobridge Ltd, the only

sity College Hospital in Ibadan, which are

markets. The trainings would provide

certified organic producer in Nigeria. Their

still used today. But the agricultural sector

producers and exporters with the relevant

certified products are lemon grass, hibis-

now contributes about 32% of GDP. A

information on organic agriculture and also

cus, rice and ginger. Lemon grass, which

proportionate decline of 50%, resulting in

the criteria and expectations of importers

is processed into tea sold under the

insufficient food in a nation with an aver-

in the international market.

brand name ‘Dara Dara’ ( meaning ‘good

16

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


Country report

good’) is the core product. At present the

and less turgid, and are known as

company only targets the local market.

“IBILE” (which means local or traditional

During our visit to Nigeria, it was noticed

in Yoruba language). Those from conven-

that there could be a demand for several

tional cultivation are bulky and very turgid,

and demands of the European Union and

local, organically produced products,

and are know as “AGRIC” which denotes

North American markets. This list was

including local rice (ofada rice), ama-

the use of conventional agricultural inputs

drawn up using eight key criteria. One of

assist in the management of non-commu-

The majority of Nigerian farmers are smallholder farmers who use traditional “organic” methods

these was the ability to produce and sup-

nicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer

(pesticides and fertilizers). This awareness

and hypertension.

suggests a ready market in Nigeria if local

What does the giant have to offer???

organic products were being cultivated

Nigeria is blessed with a diverse climate

and available.

and vegetation, that enables year-round

ranths, chorchorus, celosia, turmeric, ginger, lemon grass, citrus fruits, tomato, okra, maize, plantain, and palm kernel. These products form part of the staple diet of Nigerians and existing (organic) producers are unable to meet the supply. Local consumers do appreciate organic products, saying that they taste better. Some even went further saying that organic foods are are nutritious foods and

Consumers could even distinguish products that are cultivated in an organic

products with the most export potential that would fulfil the criteria

ply without jeopardising local food security, as we did not want a situation where products are exported and the local population left hungry. The next step was the compilation of agricultural products found from the 36 States and the Federal Republics Capital, which produced a long list of products cultivated in Nigeria. This list was scanned to eliminate products unsuitable for export such as cassava, indigenous goat, kola nuts, etc.

production of many different crops. Agri-

manner from those cultivated in a conven-

International market development

culture in Nigeria is still a major branch of

tional manner. Those that are cultivated

For the international market, we were set

the economy. The agricultural sector pro-

organically are of a natural size, colour

the assignment of selecting 10 organic

vides employment for 70% of the populaECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

17


Before the advent of the petroleum industry in Nigeria, the agricultural sector flourished tion. The majority of Nigerian farmers are

with international organic standards.

smallholders using traditional methods,

Nigeria also has an image problem with

such as crop rotations, shifting cultiva-

religious violence in the northern and

tion, animal manure and natural pest

central parts and frequent kidnappings

control. As such their farming methods

in the southern part of the country. This

of farming could be classified as organic

could be an obstacle to convincing

by default. However, organic production

investors or importers in the EU and

extends beyond cultivation. It is a pro-

USA to do business with exporters of

cess that goes through the entire supply

organic products from Nigeria. Finally

chain. Properly organized organic farming

Nigeria will have to compete on the

is still at the infant stages in Nigeria and

export market with countries like India,

although small, the organic sector is

Uganda, Ghana and Tunisia, who are

motivated and committed.

experienced, organized certified countries with established customers.

The strings and pegs that would hinder Nigeria’s ‘organic awakening’

Reasons for the giant to wake up

The majority of the farmers lack of

There is an increase in global demand

experience on active good agricultural

for organic produce. Global sales of

practices. Their systems may be organic

organic products continues to expand.

by default, but for export, producers are

There is also an increasing local interest

expected to produce according to inter-

in organic produce. The universities

national standards and keep records.

could outsource to farmers who could

For smallholder farmers it is difficult to

then produce on a larger scale to meet

achieve product uniformity, certification

demand. Finally there is local awa-

and to organize themselves for the export

reness about the benefits of organic

market. There is just one local certified

foods and consumers believe organic

organic producer and two certified produ-

products are wholesome foods.

cers and exporters in Nigeria. This does

In all it is likely that Nigeria will become

not give the country a competitive pre-

increasingly involved in organic agri-

sence in the international market. There

culture as farmers have nothing to lose

is also a lack of coordination between

but stand to gain financially, increase

organizations and institutions involved in

food sufficiency and build a healthy and

organic agriculture and a gap in the flows

prosperous nation. The African giant is

of information and technologies between

waking up.

them. There is no Nigerian certification body to regulate and ensure compliance

18

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

Mike Johnson (m.johnson@louisbolk.nl)


6

Diane Bowen & Peter Brul

Expert opinions on reducing trade barriers E&F asked six experts if we can reduce trade barriers through equivalence AND at the same time maintain organic integrity in the markets. In the US, the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture recently declared that the National Organic Program is in the “age of enforcement.” Fraud prevention discussions and initiatives have emerged in Europe and North America, aimed at both domestic and international trade. Major import markets remain suspicious of exports from emerging countries and regions. Fraud scandals have the potential to shake consumer confidence, which could harm organic markets and credibility and set back organic production/consumption. Yet, at the same time, regulations and the attendant bureaucracies are choking organic trade, creating an additional ‘tax’ on the best agricultural products by placing many requirements on organic food that are not placed on other agricultural products. The requirements for market access can be prohibitive, especially for producers from developing countries. They are not good for consumers either, as they reduces the diversity of available products. The effect of these supply and demand restraint are to hold back the expansion of organic agriculture. An “age of equivalence” is needed to remove barriers to trade in organic products. Countries should find ways to cooperate and mutually recognise that organic standards and conformity assessment measures accomplish the same or very similar objectives, rather than seeking to impose their own criteria.

20

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


economy & market

Xingji Xiao, Director of the Organic Food Development and Certification Center of China (OFDC China).

ment of the importing countries are responsible for supervision of organic integrity; people should not just solely blame the producers if any fraud is found. At the same time, exporting countries are looking to produce organic products at a lower cost by employing standards and management systems that are

Setting different standards or higher cer-

more suitable to local situations.

tification requirements is, perhaps, not the right way to eliminate fraud. As long

Xingji Xiao

Both developed and developing countries have a

as there are significant gaps between organic and

shared aim of reducing cheating and increasing trade.

conventional products, ineffective supervision from

Standards equivalence, including equivalence recog-

certification bodies and governments and insufficient

nition and supervision management, is a useful tool

public awareness and involvement of the public with

to promote international trade. Countries and CBs

organic products, there is always the possibility for

from different countries must cooperate more and

people attempting deliberate fraud.

exchange more information, so as to increase the transparency of certification, public awareness and

All exported organic products are certified by control

participation. In Asia we are establishing a mecha-

bodies (CBs) that are accredited by the importing

nism for cooperation among countries and CbBs and

countries: most of the CBs are transnational compa-

to improve exchanges among the supervisory autho-

nies based in those countries. The CBs and govern-

rities of all the countries involved in organic trade.

Beate Huber, Head of the International Division of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and member of the “Anti-Fraud Initiative”.

– and the organic standards in these countries should address these issues. If exports to the EU only need to comply with the EU regulation then this will not happen. Standards are also written in a local context and should reflect the values and

There is a perception that compliance provides

expectations of local producers and consumers.

more security for safeguarding organic integrity. Yet

These different values make the situation very com-

the opposite is true . Organic integrity needs local

plicated. The mutual recognition of standards on

ownership and locally adapted solutions. Standards

the basis of equivalence needs to be based on the

are always written in a local context, for example:

understanding of the need for common objectives

the EU regulation on organic agriculture does not

and agreement that there are different ways to reach

tackle water quality or the issue of burning crop resi-

these objectives. This requires a well-managed and

dues since these are regulated through the general

transparent process and dialogue among the sta-

legal framework. In other countries the general legal

keholders – whether at the local or the international

framework does not adequately cover these issues

level.

Beate Huber

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

21


Dr David Crucefix

Dr David Crucefix, Executive Director (Business), Inter­ national Organic Accreditation Service.

have been waiting over 10 years on one waiting list) and can be hijacked by vested interests.

Equivalence agreements can help to reduce the

At the moment there are already around 100 sets of

existing layers of bureaucracy. This is clear and is

national regulations. Where is this leading? Is each

already happening. Equivalence does not however

country going to seek equivalence with each other?

imply less rigour or new openings for fraud.

There are a number of good equivalence approaches

In fact equivalence has the potential to reduce con-

and options but the regulators have failed to pick up

fusion and enables an inspector to focus on one set

and run with IFOAM’s Accreditation (despite its track

of requirements rather than juggling 3 or 4 and not

record and being highly respected) as one of those

having the time to focus on key issues of integrity.

equivalent approaches. This continues to be a great

The problem of our equivalence approach is that it

missed opportunity and the IOAS would be happy to

is difficult in practice (the IOAS has had plenty of

work with any regulators in adding this to their tool

experience of this), can take forever (some countries

box.

Laura Montenegro, Technical Director and President of ARGENCERT S.A., certifier in Argentina.

since 2009. In 2011 Canadian products were declared as equivalent to EU ones, but this does not make US and EU products equivalent to each other. Australia accepts the imports of organic products produced under standards and conformity assessment systems

Even though over 70 countries have organic regula-

with “equal reliability”. Chile is considering amending

tions, there are few agreements about harmonization

its law to accept imports of processed products using

for equivalence.

transactional certificates from ‘regulated’ countries.

Here are some examples of the current situation: Argentina has had equivalence with the EU for

Overall, markets should ensure that equivalence

exports since 1992. But Argentina does not recog-

based on adherence to principles and clear objecti-

nize the standards of any other countries for imports,

ves, rather than arguing about irrelevant details that

which is needed to make products available that are

do not compromise the integrity of the end product.

not produced in our country. In January 2011 Brazil

The conventional market players are

implemented a law which included a stipulation that

the only ones gaining from the orga-

certifiers of products labelled as “organic” in Brazil

nic sector’s incoherence and narrow

are required to be accredited by the national accre-

mindedness. Equivalence is the only

ditation body rather than any other member of the

way to increase trade and facilitate the

International Accreditation Federation (IAF). Canada

growth of international trade in organic

has had an agreement of equivalence with the USA

products.

22

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

Laura Montenegro


economy & market

Volkert Engelsman, Founder and CEO of Eosta, a major importer and export of organic fruit and vegetables.

We should implement fast lane import authorisation procedures to avoid complex red tape practices that hinder global trade and constitute a significant trade barrier. The lack of any ‘polluter pays’ standard for conventional agriculture probably forms the most serious trade barrier for organic farming as it creates

It is important to convince govern-

an uneven playing field (with true cost

ments to harmonise regulations

accounting in organic farming and the

on the basis of a minimum global

externalisation of ecological costs in

standard (using IFOAM’s Family of

conventional farming). But this issue

Standards as a key reference) and to

is probably beyond our sphere of

mutually recognise the equivalence

influence.

of locally justified adjustments.

Volkert Engelsman

Johann Zueblin, Migros supermarkets in Switzerland. Deputy Head of Issue Management and Sustainability.

the mutual recognition of standards. Why not use the IFOAM standard as THE international reference for all organic standards? Each standard could be assessed for its equivalence against the common understanding of the reference. This benchmarking could provide a result that could be expressed as being higher,

Organic producers take their reference from local

equal to, or below the reference. The benchmarked

standards, label programmes and very often natio-

standard would then be free to communicate the

nal legislation. Standards try to be different without

result to costumers, official bodies and stakeholders.

adding real value. They do so this to differentiate

This system could be applied

themselves and to increase their market share. This

worldwide without any dis-

behaviour leads to complex production and certifi-

crimination. Such a process

cation systems as well as supply chains. IFOAM as

would increase transparency

an international body has defined a standard, which

and trust. The key to success

we could call the “reference standard for organic

would be the equivalence of

production”.

the process. The Global Social Compliance Program has

I strongly recommend that the organic community

already developed one (See

develops and starts to use a system that allows for

www.gscp.net.com.)

Johann Zueblin

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

23


MARKET

ACCESS

Jon Manhire

Asian regional standards

RAPID PROGRESS IN DEVELOPING AN ASIAN REGIONAL ORGANIC STANDARD The Global Organic Market Access (GOMA) project is a joint project involving FAO, IFOAM and UNCTAD that was established in 2009 to promote and foster equivalence and harmonization of organic standards and technical regulations. GOMA organized a Working Group for Co-operation on Organic Labelling and Trade for Asia (South, South-East and East Asia) which decided to develop the Asia Regional Organic Standards (AROS).

Organic Issues in Asia

The large number and critical

Strong linkages between local

importance of small farms for sup-

food production and local, nation-

plying most of the region’s food

al and regional cultures.

requirements. Many of these small farms also keep livestock,

The key criterion for developing regional

such as chickens and pigs.

organic standards is to ensure that they are tailored to reflect local conditions and

The importance of rice production and consumption in most countries in the region.

The long history of practicing A tropical climate (over most of

issues. Though there is a great diver-

agriculture in the region and the

sity within the region in terms of climate,

subsequent evolution of farming

the region) and the evolution of

crops produced, farming traditions and

systems adapted to local condi-

farming systems which are adapt-

systems, there are also some common

tions, resources and societal

ed to tropical climatic conditions.v

features.

needs.

24

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


T

he aim is to create a reference for

have been based on the use of natural,

equivalence of government organic

biological, renewable and regenerative

standards in the region as part of

resources. Soil fertility is primarily main-

a framework for cooperation on organic

tained through recycling organic matter.

labelling and trade in the region. It was

Pests, diseases, and weeds are managed

also anticipated that AROS could also be

primarily through cultural practices. Food

adapted to serve as the national standard

processing is typically simple using biolo-

for some individual countries in the region

gical, mechanical, and physical methods.

that do not yet have a standard. However

Possibly as a result of this alignment

it is not the intention for AROS to replace

between traditional and organic farming

any existing national organic standards.

systems the understanding and subse-

standards & certification

quent development of organic farming in Traditional approaches to farming in the

the region has been comparatively strong.

Asian region are strongly aligned with the

Governments and non-governmental

values and objectives of organic farming.

groups see that the increased adoption

Like organic production systems they

of organic production will bring a range of

The GOMA Working Group

• the requirements of the

has established a sub-project to

Codex Alimentarius Organic

develop AROS and establish the

Guidelines and the IFOAM

principles that should guide its

Basic standards version 2005

development.

The AROS development process

• the EquiTool – especially The standard should be develo-

Annex 2 – Common Objectives

ped through a highly inclusive pro-

and Related Requirements for

cess, with in-country consultation

Organic Standards – (COROS).

facilitated by participating governments and stakeholders.

The development process will be overseen by the Asia Organic

The standard development will take into consideration:

Standards Drafting Group, a subgroup of the Working Group.

• an earlier technical comparative study prepared by GOMA

benefits to their countries in addition to enhancing trading opportunities. While the organic sector is a very different level of development (from the early stages of development to the highly regulated) in different Asian countries, it is now an accepted concept and a grow­ ing market trend in the region. Exports remain a dominant feature of the sector’s development in the majority of countries, but local markets have emerged and are gaining ground.

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

25


The Drafting Group (DG) consists of repre-

worked well together in the development

sentatives of government, industry and

process, sharing ideas and experiences

non-government organizations from coun-

to ensure that AROS effectively reflects

tries throughout the region. It has so far

regional conditions and practices. The

held two workshops, the first in the Philip-

first draft of AROS was prepared at the

pines and the second in Laos, preceded

March 2011 workshop held in the Philip-

and followed up by extensive in-country

pines. Following feedback a second draft

consultations facilitated by the DG mem-

was developed at the Laos workshop in

bers after each workshop. The DG mem-

Vientiane in June 2011. Some key deci-

bers have a wide range of knowledge and

sions were made at this workshop by the

experience with organic production in the

DG and only a few outstanding issues still

region and in the development of organic

need to be addressed. These decisions

standards and regulations. They have

covered a number of key issues.

Conversion period:  it was decided that the mini-

after discussing the issue again, the group changed

mum conversion period for this region should be 12

the language to permit highly restricted use that

months for annual crops and 18 months for peren-

excludes application on any leafy, tuber or root

nial ones.  Although conversion periods are typically

crops, plus measures to control pathogens.

longer in temperate climates, this standard is being developed for a region that is primarily tropical and

Lists of inputs:  the indicative lists of inputs for

sub-tropical, where chemicals break down faster.

organic production were modified to include plant-

It was agreed that these shorter conversion peri-

derived substances that are used in the region.

ods provide a sufficient time period for the organic

These included permitting the use of tea-seed meal

system to become established without financially

and fishtail palm extracts as biological substances

penalizing the farmer.

that can be used to protect crops.

Seeds and planting materials:  there is some flexi-

The comment period on the second draft ended

bility in the standard that allows for the use of non-

on the 1st of November and includes inputs from a

organic seed when organic or untreated seeds are

consultation workshop held at the Organic World

unavailable.  Although there is an aspiration to use

Congress on 30th September.

organic seed, such markets are not yet well develo-

March - Philippine Drafting Group Workshop

ped in this region.  Hydroponic production:  discussions revealed differences in certification practices and opinions over hydroponic production –even when it otherwise meets the requirements of organic production.  The draft prohibition on this type of production was left intact, subject to further discussion and inputs. Use of human excrement as a fertility amendment:  the first draft prohibited the use of human excrement on any crops for human consumption, but

26

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

Jon Manhire works for the AgriBusiness Group, New Zealand and was involved in the development of AROS.


standards & certification

MARKET

ACCESS

East Africa’s regional standards

BUILDING AN ‘AFRICANOWNED’ CERTIFICATION STANDARD

kilimanjaro ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

27


Gunnar Rundgren

Organic agriculture has developed rapidly in East Africa and can now claim around half a million certified farmers. The sector is now pressing ahead for the European Union to approve the Organic Standard of the East African Community. Two projects involving IFOAM, FAO, UNCTAD and the region’s national organic movements are providing much needed support for this process.

E

ast Africa is leading the deve-

and Regional Cooperation for Organic

lopment of organic agriculture

Standards and Certification in East Afri-

in Africa. In total, half a million

can (OSEA - implemented by IFOAM and

farmers and some 150 companies are

the national organic movements of East

involved in certified organic production.

Africa), are assisting stakeholders and

There are almost certainly even more

the East African Community in getting

organic farmers who are uncertified and

the European Commission to recog-

outside the organic market place. Organic

nize EAOPS as an equivalent standard.

exports have been growing rapidly in the

This will facilitate the export of organic

last decade. For instance, Ugandan orga-

products from East Africa into the EU.

nic exports have risen from $4.6 million in

The strategy has been for one or more

2002 to $36 million in 2010, a growth of

certification bodies to include EAOPS as

more than 700%. Domestic markets are

has been widely adopted by producers

part of their application for the Commis-

also growing fast in most of the countries,

in the region and it is now time to seek

sion’s approval as equivalent certification

albeit from a very low level, and there are

recognition of the standard by trading

bodies. The first applications were sub-

an increasing number of organic outlets.

partners further afield, particularly in the

mitted in 2009 and the EU is expected

European Union (EU). Following changes

to approve the first group of certifica-

A regional standard

to the EU import rules in 2008 (Regulation

tion bodies soon. Several certification

The East African Organic Products

(EC) 1235/2008), it is now easier to get

bodies that are active in East Africa are

Standard (EAOPS) was developed bet-

such recognition, even though there is no

involved in this first round of submissions.

ween 2005 and 2007 by public and pri-

specific option in the Regulation for the

Approvals are based on proof that the

vate stakeholders from Uganda, Tanzania,

approval of a foreign standard. Standards

certification bodies are competent and

Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda. It was

are only recognized as part of the process

use standards that are equivalent to the

ultimately approved by the East African

of approving a country or certification

EU standard. A certification body can be

Community, the region’s intergovernmen-

body. In East Africa, the approval of cer-

approved for certifying several equivalent

tal organization. It is adapted to the con-

tification bodies is the most appropriate

standards. It is thus possible for those

ditions of East Africa and is intended to

avenue, as Diane Bowen from the GOMA

approved in the first round to submit a

provide a platform for the development of

project explains below.

renewed application based on EAOPS.

lowing the standard can use the East Afri-

In search of EU recognition

Representatives of the two projects and

can Organic Mark, if they are certified by

Two international projects, Global Organic

the organic movements in East Africa

a third-party certification body or a Parti-

Market Access (GOMA - directed by a

held a meeting with the European Com-

cipatory Guarantee System. The standard

partnership of FAO, IFOAM and UNCTAD)

mission in Brussels in June. At the same

local and regional markets. Producers fol-

28

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


standards & certification

time a workshop on organic agriculture

EAOPS for admission to the IFOAM Fami-

in Africa was organised involving repre-

ly of Standards, which was verified at the

sentatives from the European and the

IFOAM General Assembly in Korea.

African Unions. These events provided

Seeking international recognition for East Africa’s regional organic standard

a further opportunity for GOMA’s repre-

Diane Bowen says “The IOAS assessment

sentatives and other advocates from East

shows that, by and large, EAOPS is equi-

Africa to explain the standard and call

valent to the EU regulation, but there are a

for its recognition for imports into the

few problem issues. None of these issues

EU. Moses Muwanga, from the National

are at a level that would imply any imme-

Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda

diate change to the standard. Instead, the

and an IFOAM Board member, outlined

stakeholders plan to issue certification

the standard. GOMA’s Project Manager,

guidance to strengthen the implementation

applicants. The OSEA project is also provi-

Diane Bowen, made a presentation on the

of the standard”. Once the guidance and

ding financial support to local organic cer-

role of international equivalence and how

the response to the IOAS are ready, one or

tification bodies in Tanzania and Uganda

EOAPS complies with these requirements.

more certification bodies will submit their

to assist them to maintain their accredita-

Sophia Twarog, from UNCTAD and a

applications for approval to the EU, based

tion status, a prerequisite for EU approval.

member of GOMA’s Steering Committee,

Training of local certification bodies has

appealed to the workshop participants to

been conducted and will continue. Simple

find a way forward for EAOPS.

guides and explanations of the standards have been developed to facilitate the

Internationally recognised

uptake of EAOPS in the region. “We see

GOMA has commissioned International

these efforts as something that can lift the

Organic Accreditation Services Inc. (IOAS)

organic sector to a new level” says Gama

to assess the equivalence of EAOPS with

Jordan, head of the Tanzania Organic Agri-

the EU regulation. EAOPS has also been

culture Movements. He continues: “these

assessed against COROS (Common

practical efforts are important components

Objectives and Requirements of Orga-

in the implementation of the National

nic Standards, also known as IFOAM’s

Organic Agriculture Action Plan, which

Standards Requirements). The COROS

was approved last year.”

assessment concluded that the EAOPS fulfils the requirements, with some minor

on EAOPS. Three certification bodies

variations. On the basis of this assess-

operating in East Africa have expressed

ment IFOAM evaluated the eligibility of

interest in being among this first round of

-Information about OSEA and the East African Organic Products Standard is available at: http://www.ifoam.org/partners/projects/osea.html -Information about the GOMA project can be found at: http://www.goma-organic.org/

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

29


Certification of organic catering

a need for harmonization across Europe? 30

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


standards & certification

The consumption of organic food is increasing and people often pay significant premium prices for organic products. Between 1995 and 2007, another remarkable trend occurred: while the average European Union household expenditure on food consumption (adjusted for inflation) was 15%, the spending on catering services increased by 25%. From 2008 onwards total household expenditure and expenditure on catering services stayed more or less in line with general economic developments.

Melanie Lukas, Carola Strassner & Anne-Kristin Løes The catering sector is attracting increa-

any future harmonization process. It was

sing attention at the pan-European level

conceived as an explorative pilot study, to

and one emerging question is that of the

analyze and give an oversight of the cur-

certification of organic establishments.

rent situation.

The European (EU) Council Regulation No. 834/2007 on organic production and

Prospects of harmonization

labelling of organic products obliges the

A further web based questionnaire of

European Commission to report to the EU

experts in the field was undertaken which

Council on the scope of the Regulation

received a response rate of 25%, with

before the end of 2011, and to make clear

replies coming from experts from fourteen

reference to ‘organic food prepared by

EU member states and one non-member

mass caterers’. The council Regulation,

country. These countries have developed very different approaches to certifying

which came into effect on January 1st 2009, governs these topics in all member

food in serving outlets. The procedures

mass organic catering. When asked about

states. However, member states are still

for the certification of organic food served

the satisfaction level with the present situ-

allowed to adopt national rules or private

in out-of-home settings were reviewed

ation in Europe for organic mass catering

standards for the out-of-home market,

and analyzed in the first four of these

certification, the majority of respondents

since the regulation does not cover such

countries. Germany was included as a

was ‘unsatisfied’ or ‘a little bit unsatisfied’

operations.

reference country since it has legally regu-

(Figure 1).

lated this area. The study provides first

Furthermore, respondents would very

The study into ‘innovative Public Orga-

insights into how certification procedures

much welcome a harmonized certification

nic food Procurement for Youth’ (iPOPY,

for the organic out-of-home market might

scheme for the organic mass catering

2007-2010) was one of eight research

be harmonized and adapted to general

sector (Figure 2). A large majority con-

projects conducted as part of the CORE

European conditions. Another aim was to

sidered that the EU-wide harmonization

Organic I programme. This investigated

find out if certification body officials and

of organic certification in mass catering

the strategies and instruments used within

other professionals working in this field

would have mainly positive impacts. Only

a number of European countries (Italy,

are satisfied with the current situation, and

five respondents feared negative impacts.

Denmark, Finland, Norway and Germany),

their experientially-based viewpoints about

When asked to consider the most impor-

to increase the consumption of organic

the issues that should be considered in

tant drivers of such a harmonization

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

31


Figure 1.

Satisfaction levels about the present regulation of organic certification in the out-of-home sector in Europe Source:

process, 64% of respondents thought that organic associations will be the most important, followed by certifiers, political authorities and caterers who were all mentioned as important drivers by more than 50% of respondents. Considerations for the future The pilot study shows that any initiative from the European Commission to create the conditions for the future harmonization of organic certification of mass catering will very likely be welcomed. Any such process should be conducted in close cooperation with certification bodies and

Figure 2.

Respondents’ opinions on a possible EU-wide harmonized organic certification scheme for mass catering (n=25) Source:

The EUregulation does not cover the out-of-home market organic associations, even if this will increase the length of time required to develop and implement the regulation and will require resources to carry out the neces-

cially between the certifiers, even if a

sary consultations. Networking across

change of regulation for organic certifi-

borders will provide a good opportunity to

cation of mass catering is not an imme-

create a scheme which is generally bin-

diate consequence.

ding but has the scope to allow regional

• Involve important stakeholders, such

and individual country variations. Such an

as certifiers and organic associations,

endeavour would be especially suppor-

in any harmonization process from the

tive of the positive impacts and strengths

outset, to create a scheme which best

expected by our respondents, such as

fits all individual conditions but provides

“more traceability”, “more transparency”

more transparency than the current situ-

or “better consumer understanding”.

ation. • Establish a pan-European working group

Further recommendations for next steps

consisting of all the important stakehol-

in Europe gained from this pilot research

ders representing the current status quo

include:

and can provide objective input into the

• Intensify networking in this sector, espe-

consultation.

32

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

Further details of this pilot study and other results of the iPOPY project can be accessed in the organic eprints database using the search term ipopy. Acknowledgements The authors thank the CORE Organic Funding Body Network for funding of the pilot research project, iPOPY (2007-2010) was one of eight projects initiated by the CORE Organic I Funding Body Network Melanie Lukas and Carola Strassner work at the Department of Home Economics and Nutritional Science, University of Applied Science Muenster, Germany. Anne-Kristin Løes works for Bioforsk Organic Food and Farming, Norway. melanie.lukas@fh-muenster.de,


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Business as usual is not an option

Let the good products grow and flow

34

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


standards & certification

The world needs a fundamental shift towards sustainable ecologically based agriculture and food systems. The drive for high productivity and profitability through agro-industrial models has had serious environmental and social downsides. Business as usual is not an option. This has been highlighted by an increasing number of United Nations studies including the IAASTD report, many UNCTAD reports including its Trade and Environment Review, UNEP’s Green Economy Report, the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Sophia Twarog

O

rganic agriculture has a very impor-

more or less, based on the IFOAM basic

tant role to play within the larger

standards. Products sold as organic must

duction. Why do we allow this to happen?

family of environmentally friendly agricul-

usually comply 100% with all the details

The real winners of this self-shackling

ture. Organic agriculture is, in many ways,

of of a system, usually set up with local

exercise are those who profit from agro-

the gold standard, leading the way. It is

or national circumstances in mind. Little

industrial forms of agriculture. Their

also clearly defined and therefore verifi-

thought has been given to the flow of pro-

products flow with relative ease and lower

able. There are standards for production

ducts across systems, particularly inward

transaction costs. The five companies that

and processing and these can be used to

flows. Small details in OGS can become

sell 70% of the world’s agrochemicals are

guide operators and to assess if a system

big barriers to trade. This lack of harmo-

no doubt delighted.

is organic or not. Such clarity also opens

nization and equivalency across systems

the doors to producers for making, and

can be a major obstacle to the develop-

To stand a chance, we in the organic

being able to back up organic claims, and

ment of the organic sector.

sector have to stand together. We cannot afford to be divided in principle or in prac-

to be economically rewarded for producing crops sustainably. Self claim, perso-

We all pay a high price for this.

tice. We must not allow the existing OGS

nal trust relationships, participatory gua-

Farmers struggle to meet all the rules and

to keep us down or to keep us apart. We

rantee systems and third party certifica-

requirements in all the different markets

need strong vibrant local food systems

tion can all work well at local and national

where they wish to sell. This could even

with local markets and local relationships.

levels. For exchanges across distances,

be two different stores on the same street.

These should be actively supported by

third party certification is usually needed.

Processors and traders struggle to source

local consumers, retailers and govern-

ingredients. Certification bodies ask high

ments alike.

Formal organic guarantee systems (OGS)

costs for multiple accreditations.(I have

can get complicated. There is the pro-

the impression that certification costs for

We also need trade in organic products.

duction and processing standard and the

EU, JAS and NOP, the 3 main markets

Organic products currently account for

conformity assessment system—usually

EU, Japan and USA is not so much more

a very small share of overall sales of

a certification body and, in countries that

than for one single xport market) Con-

food and agricultural products. There is

regulate their markets, also accredita-

sumers pay higher prices and have many

great potential for this share to increase.

tion or supervision. Worldwide there is a

less products to choose from. (I don’t

Imports can play an important role in

proliferation of public and private OGS

have the impression that there are less

growing domestic organic markets. The

systems. Often these systems have been

organic products available on the market

greater the range of products on offer the

set up as islands unto themselves, alt-

because of certification costs).The planet

greater the consumer interest. In gene-

hough in the man markets these are all,

suffers because there is less organic pro-

ral, the benefits from increasing the size

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

35


standards & certification

of the organic pie will greatly outweigh

Besides the achievements of the GOMA

The United States and Canada have sig-

the possible disadvantages to domestic

project (highlighted elsewhere in this edi-

ned an equivalency agreement with full

producers who are sometimes worried

tion) there have been some other recent

system recognition including imports. The

about facing competition in their home

landmark events worth recognizing.

latter point is important for developing

markets. Organic consumers will prefer

IFOAM is now using COROS to evaluate

the organic market in North America,

local products and this can be clearly

standards for inclusion in the IFOAM

including in the fast-growing processed

communicated.

Family of Standards. Public and private

products area. It also shares the benefits

sector regulators worldwide should make

with the rest of the world. May the rest of

Openness to trade in organic products

use of these assessments. There is no

the world take note and follow suit.

also shows solidarity with the rest of the

need to reinvent the wheel each time the

Let us all stand strong together to let the

organic world, especially with the South.

subject of equivalency comes up. COROS

organic products grow and flow!

In developing countries, domestic organic

can reduce the workload burden involved

markets are particularly small. Organic

in establishing equivalency.

exports can be an important incentive for

The EU regulation has fully incorporated

adopting sustainable agricultural prac-

equivalency into its system for approving

tices, thereby improving the livelihoods

organic imports.

of the world’s poor. Smallholder farms in developing countries, generally only produce one or two export crops but produce dozens of others in an organic manner that are consumed locally. This improves the food security and health of local populations. Where countries and regions have similar agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions, the harmonization of organic standards and OGS can stimulate the regional markets and help develop a sense of common identity. There can be many positive spillover effects from such regional cooperation. This has already been seen in East Africa, the Pacific, Central America and Asia. Equivalency plays a key role in exchange across systems. The Common Objectives and Requirements of Organic Agriculture Systems (COROS) and the International Requirements for Organic Certification Bodies (IROCB) were developed through highly consultative processes facilitated by FAO, IFOAM and UNCTAD in the Global Organic Market Access project (GOMA). They can be used to systematically and rigorously assess the equivalence of organic standards and the conformity of assessment systems, while at the same time leaving space to tailor local organic systems to local conditions.

36

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

Dr. Sophia Twarog is Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD


organic&health

peter brul

“LET THE GOOD PRODUCTS FLOW!” SAYS GOMA, ANNOUNCING ITS 2012 CONFERENCE For ten years, FAO, IFOAM and UNCTAD

The following eminent keynote speakers

have worked in partnership to address

are featured in the Conference:

and reduce barriers to trade of organic

Harsha Singh, Deputy Director-General,

products resulting from the global prolife-

World Trade Organization (confirmed)

ration of organic standards and technical

Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary,

regulations.

United States Department of Agriculture (confirmed)

At this high-level International Conference,

Franz Fischler, President, Eco-Social

scheduled for 13 and 14 February 2012 at

Forum and former Commissioner of

Nuremberg Messe (just prior to BioFach)

Agicultur, Rural Development and Fis-

the partners draw together a distinguished

heries, European Union (confirmed)

group of public and private sector leaders

Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissio-

to examine the past, present and future of

ner for Rural Economy and Agriculture

organic market access relative to systems

African Union Commission (invited)

of organic standards and conformity assessment.

In addition to the keynote speakers, par-

Tumusiime Rhoda Peace

ticipants are afforded an opportunity to discuss key issues with distinguished

Pacific Islands Community are also expec-

government and private-sector speakers

ted also contribute to the presentations

from Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica,

and discussions.

China, Great Britain, France, India, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and United States. Representatives of intergovernmental and international organizations such as The

Program information and registration A detailed program and registration information will be available on the GOMA website. Inquiries can be sent to goma-conference@ifoam.org.

European Commission, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, International Trade Commission, International Organic Accreditation Service and

Franz Fischler The conference looks at emerging issues, such as the potential for organic standards to promote the growth of organic agriculture vis-à-vis their potential to stifle growth. Developments and challenges for dominant and emerging exporting/importing economies and for still-developing countries are highlighted and discussed. Models of public-private and regional cooperation are considered Harsha Singh

as potential pathways for global solutions to the challenges.

Kathleen Merrigan


The recent Organic World Congress in Korea marked 30 years of organic developments in Korea. Organic agriculture in Korea was initiated by individual farmers in the 1970s and the movement began to organize itself in the 1980s.

Gunnar Rungren

10,000+ organic farms

The organic sector grows in Korea 38

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


Country Profile

A

special feature of the Korean situation is that organic is one of three official

schemes for environmentally-friendly (also called eco-friendly) agriculture; organic farming, pesticide-free and low-pesticide. The output of the environmentally-friendly

90% of local authorities now provide eco-friendly school meals

sector grew from 27,000 tons in 1999

Formal certification can be traced back to the 1997 Act on the Promotion of Environmental Agriculture which took effect in 1998. The act allowed only governmental agencies to verify organic production; through a declaration system managed by the National Agricultural

(0.1% of total farm produce) to 2,358,000

The total volume of Korean organic farm

Products Quality Management Service.

tons in 2009 (12.2% of total farm pro-

produce, at the farm level, is estimated to

The Environmentally Friendly Agriculture

duce). In 2009, there were 199,000 recog-

be worth 150 billion Korean Won (approxi-

Fosterage Act in 2001 allowed private

nized environmental-friendly farms. Of

mately US$ 125 million) and is increasing

agencies to be designated and work as

these, around 10,000 were organic. Many

by 30% per annum. The organic market

certification bodies (known as authori-

Korean information sources mix the figu-

is growing even faster, by around 40% a

ties in Korea). A mandatory certification

res for the three schemes and there also

year, and so imports play a considerable

system was put in place for those who

appears to be some confusion in market

role in the Korean market. In 2009, 21

want to use a mark designating an orga-

communications, although there is a dis-

billion Korean Won (about US$ 17 million)

nic agricultural product. Heuksalim was

tinct organic mark.

worth of organic food was imported.

the first certification body, approved

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

39


in 2002 and since then 70 certification

Foreign certification bodies report that

cipalities took the decision to provide

bodies have been designated, 68 of which

it is enormously frustrating to work with

environmentally-friendly school meals.

still maintain their approval status. The

Korean authorities.

By 2009, 90% of local municipalities had taken such decisions. Some have gone

Association of Eco-friendly Certification Authorities was established in Septem-

The host of the Organic World Congress,

further; Gayang elementary school in

ber 2006 and is currently in charge of

Namyangju City, is piloting a certification

Seoul started to provide all its 866 stu-

management and professional training of

scheme for organic restaurants under

dents with 100% organic school meals in

inspectors. Imports of organic food are

which five organic restaurants are cur-

March, 2008. There are many other forms

also regulated. The Korean Regulation

rently certified. Two public servants, res-

of government support schemes and

for Food Industry Promotion Act doesn’t

ponsible for public health and agriculture

payments. In conjunction with the Organic

allow equivalence mechanisms and all

respectively, make field inspections and

World Congress an organic museum was

organic food imports have to be certi-

a certification committee of 10 members

established, with an investment of about

fied by Korean authorities. As a result of

takes a certification decision. Public sup-

US$ 40 million, and the congress itself

complaints to the WTO this measure has

port for the organic sector has taken

had a US$ 2 million budget.

been postponed until 31 December 2012.

many forms. In 2004, two local muni-

40

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


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The IFOAM General Assembly

Organic World Congress

IFOAM’s General Assembly (October 3-5) had the participation of 49% of the IFOAM membership, represented in person and by proxy.

E&F’s Denise Godinho with IFOAM director Markus Arbenz, exiting president Katherine DiMatteo and the new president André Leu.

42

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


events

Denise Godinho

A

mong the strategically important

appropriate level of soil organic matter

to support organic farming projects and

decisions taken during this Assem-

and is rooted in the soil and sub-soil. It

agro-ecological approaches that provide

bly was the passing of the ‘Sustai-

was stressed that the living soil nourishes

vulnerable populations with a real solution

nability in Agriculture’ motion, which

the plant and must not, in any situation,

for climate change and provide organic

determined that IFOAM is to position

be simply an inert substrate and medium

farmers with a fair compensation for their

organic agriculture as a holistic, sustaina-

of support. Cultural practices in green-

contribution to climate mitigation and

ble farming system that is committed to

house production must preserve or incre-

adaptation strategies.

further develop its practices to meet long-

ase soil fertility and improve soil ecology

Further areas of focus were the need to

standing and newly emerging challenges.

and biodiversity.

encourage and participate in research

Organic greenhouse production was

IFOAM’s membership further decided in

around family farms and the granting of

another topic addressed and the mem-

favour of advocating against the inclu-

voting rights to IFOAM’s regional and sec-

bership ruled that standards for organic

sion of organic agriculture in speculative

toral groups (also called IFOAM ‘action

production in greenhouses must encou-

carbon market schemes (especially those

groups’) giving them more influence over

rage an agriculture that is consistent with

controlled by the international finance

IFOAM’s decision-making.

preserving the natural balance in living

system). The membership supports the

The closing remarks of the retiring pre-

soils and plants, seeks to maintain the

promotion of alternative financing systems

sident, Katherine DiMatteo were a high

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

43


President. The newcomers to the board

The 17th IFOAM World Congress

are Gabi Soto (Costa Rica), who took

The GA was preceded by the 17th Orga-

office as Vice-President, Eva Torremocha

nic World Congress (OWC) which attrac-

(Spain), Frank Eyhorn (Switzerland), James

ted close to 2000 participants from 76

B. Cole (Ghana), Manjo Smith (Namibia),

countries. 737 papers were presented

Mathew John (India), Matthew Holmes

during various conference sessions and

(Canada) and Volkert Engelsman (Nether-

these addressed topics ranging from pest

lands).

and disease management to data collection and information technology for the organic sector. The keynote speakers’

point of the GA. Reflecting on her six

papers (see the July edition of Ecology

years on the IFOAM World Board, three

& Farming), delivered during the five ple-

of which were spent as IFOAM president,

nary sessions, were well received by the

she emphasised that “our focus should be

audience. The various side events and

on helping to define, describe and build

festival drew in some 250,000 visitors,

the resilient and eco-intensive agricultural

making this the best attended OWC ever.

systems that support a true green or rege-

The OWC also marked the start of a

nerative economy”. IFOAM’s advocacy

project to recognise innovative organic

efforts have already borne fruit, which

research - the Organic Farming Innovation

is apparent when one reads documents

A full report on the IFOAM General

Award (OFIA). On the occasion of each

published by the UN’s Food and Agricultu-

Assembly will be published in IFOAM in

OWC (every three years), IFOAM and the

re Organization (FAO) which echo IFOAM’s

Action (including complete motion texts).

Rural Development Administration of the

advocacy campaigns.

The General Assembly was rounded off by

Republic of Korea will award the distinc-

DiMatteo provided a thought provoking

a visit to organic farmers in the Paldang

tion to:

conclusion: “We know there is a need for

region, the venue of the Organic World

• honour achievements in the deve-

organic systems to move toward incre-

Congress and General Assembly. The Pal-

lopment and dissemination of organic

ased sustainability by applying the con-

dang farmers have in the past two years

agricultural technology based on the four

cept of continuous improvement. Howe-

seen their livelihoods threatened by the

principles of organic agriculture;

IFOAM’s advocacy has had an influence on the FAO.

• promote research and development in

ver, does this imply additional or higher organic standards and regulations? And if we chose that path, how does the organic sector avoid becoming the reductionist and prescriptive system that we originally opposed? I believe we must persevere in our conviction that each farm and location

organic agriculture around the world; • provide assistance to agricultural scientists for their research into organic agriculture; • foster international co-operation among researchers in organic agriculture.

is unique and that beyond the basic dos

The first OFIA saw two awards presented.

and don’ts, there is diversity of decisi-

Dr. Shaikh Hossain from Bangladesh won

ons and practices that respect organic

the Grand Prize in the Systems Value

principles. The organic farmer, harvester,

looming ‘Restoration of the 4 Rivers Pro-

Track for his paper ‘Organic sack garden

pastoralist and fisher apply both heart and

ject’ under which the government wants

ensuring nutrition and improving food

science to their task of achieving harmony

to turn the farmland into a public park with

security on small scale households’, while

with nature. More guidance, training and

cycle lanes by 2012. This proposal has

the prize for the Research Track went

building capacity are needed to facilitate

been accompanied by claims that organic

to Dr. Soonbae Kwon from Korea for his

the adoption of ecologically, socially and

farming was having a negative impact on

paper ‘Inhibitory effects of the extract

economically sound organic systems”.

water quality in the region. IFOAM sup-

from Quercus dentata gallnut against

ports the determined efforts to maintain

plant virus infection’.

New World Board elected

organic management of the land in Pal-

A new President and New World Board

dang region and supports the farmers’

elected by the membership. André Leu

claims that organic farming is the best

(Australia) was elected to remain on the

land use for the Paldang region in order to

World Board and became President, while

ensure that the water quality is suitable for

Roberto Ugas (Peru) will continue as Vice-

drinking.

44

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

The next OFIA will be awarded during the 18th Organic World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, 4-14 October 2014.


BREEDING SQUARE ORGANICSEEDS.NL AT BIOVAK 2012, TRADE FAIR FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, NATURE AND FOOD QUALITY

On an attractive and convenient Breeding Square with a large number of companies, many Dutch nurseries and traders in the plant sector show their varieties, which are of great importance to the national and international organic market. The Dutch nurseries and traders produce organic propagating material including the following crops: Vegetables (covered and open cultivation): Leaf vegetables, tomatoes, sweet peppers, carrots, beetroots, cabbage crops, cucumbers, pumpkins; Arable crops: potatoes, sowing onions, set onions, shallots, garlic, cereals, grasses; Medicinal herbs; Fodder crops; Green manuring crops; Fruits: Apples, pears; Soft fruit; Parkland trees and avenue trees; Shrubs; Ornamental plants: Tulip bulbs, flowers, garden plants. Workshops: We would like to invite you to join the workshops. Especially since both days of the BioVak workshops are scheduled to form new visions in which your participation and input are important. For example on how to get in the future the right varieties at the right farms. In order to obtain the highest yields in balance with nature we need more diversity, possibly even for each farmer his own selection of plant varieties. Plant varieties which are well adapted to the local circumstances and give the best food for the local people. Organicseeds.nl is working on an approach in this field.

Trade Fair for Sustainable Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

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WEDNESDAY 18 AND THURSDAY 19, JANUARY, 2012 IJSSELHALLEN - ZWOLLE THE NETHERLANDS - 30 MINUTES FROM AIRPORT AMSTERDAM www.biovak.nl You are cordially invited!

Organicseeds.nl De Welle 48 8939 AT Leeuwarden The Netherlands Bertus Buizer T. +31 (0) 582990530 E. info@organicseeds.nl


Joëlle Katto-Andrighetto

MARKET

ACCESS

A GLOBAL TOOL FOR MULTI-LATERAL EQUIVALENCE

THE IFOAM FAMILY OF STANDARDS As explained in the article written by Diane Bowen in this issue, more and more countries are developing their own organic regulations and very few countries recognize each others’ organic regulatory systems. This means that organic products sold in different regions or countries have to be certified several times in order to access these markets. While conventional products can be traded more or less freely between countries, organic products face a comparative disadvantage when it comes to international trade.

46

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING

Fortunately in recent years, a few complete or partial unilateral and bilateral equivalence recognitions have taken place between governmental organic technical regulations. The main unilateral equivalence recognitions are: the inclusion of 9 countries on the “third country list” of the European Union; recognition of the standards of 5 countries + the EU in the Japanese Grading System (which does not go all the way to equivalence recognition since crucial differences in standards still have to be addressed in order to export to Japan); recognition of the equivalence of standards of 4 countries + the EU by ­Taiwan.


standards & certification

JoĂŤlle Katto-Andrighetto

The bilateral equivalence agreements

of achieving a global “regulated but

concluded so far are:

streamlined� market access for organic

the EU-Switzerland general trade

products. Indeed, there are already 35

agreement, which includes the orga-

different governmental organic regula-

nic sector;

tions in place. To achieve global equi-

the US-Canada bilateral equivalence

valence through unilateral equivalence

agreement;

assessments would require nearly

the recently concluded EU-Canada

1200 equivalence assessments. Bilate-

bilateral equivalence agreement.

ral equivalence assessment processes would reduce this number to about

Together these represent about 20

600. However, if the approach taken

cases of unilateral and 3 cases of bila-

by the European Union, of conducting

teral equivalence decisions. In the view

equivalence assessments of private

of the proliferation of governmental

standards against its own regulation,

organic regulations, these successes

were generally adopted this could

are very small steps towards the goal

easily triple the first figure.

ECOLOGY & FARMING | 5-2011

47


The situation will soon be worsened since

The Family of Standards includes all the

ring that all standards and regulations

other countries are in the process of deve-

standards and regulations that have suc-

approved by IFOAM are equivalent to

loping their own organic regulations. This

cessfully passed a COROS equivalence

their own production rules.

will exponentially increase the number of

assessment. All equivalence assessments

assessments needed, a problem that will

are conducted or validated by IFOAM,

Make use of IFOAM’s equivalence

be further multiplied since such assess-

in accordance with codified equivalence

assessment reports and conclusions to

ments require periodic reviews to ensure

assessment procedures. COROS enables

fast-track their decisions on granting

that continued equivalence as each of the

an objective approach to equivalence, as

equivalence to other standards and

regulations/standards evolves over time.

opposed to making tedious line-by-line

regulations. In this case, governments

comparisons. The assessments done by

would retain their role of making a final

It seems therefore that, although unilateral

IFOAM show the strengths and weaknes-

and unilateral decision on each equi-

and bilateral equivalence may seem the

ses of assessing a standard by comparing

valence, but would not need to spend

most realistic approach to certain govern-

it to common requirements. The assess-

resources on the assessment itself.

ments in the short term, it is unrealistic to

ment looks at the justification (or absence

upscale this approach at the global level.

thereof) for variations with COROS and

Come together with other governments

Multi-lateral equivalence is the only realis-

whether or not these are acceptable,

to negotiate bilateral or multi-lateral

tic scenario to alleviate unnecessary barri-

individually or collectively (looking at the

equivalence agreements on the basis

ers to organic trade and achieved a global

standard as a whole). Standards that are

of approval of their regulations in the

“regulated but streamlined� market access

approved within the Family are published

IFOAM Family of Standards or on the

for organic products.

on the IFOAM website.

basis of the assessments conducted by

IFOAM is now promoting the multilate-

Use of the Family of Standards by govern-

ral equivalence approach through the

ments and private certification bodies

Australia and Saudi Arabia have already

IFOAM Family of Standards. The princi-

This tool allows governments to abandon

adopted the first recommendation and it

ple underlying this Family of Standards

the existing cumbersome and administra-

is expected that other countries will soon

is to conduct equivalence assessments

tive approaches and make use of new

follow. Private certification bodies, espe-

of each standard/regulation against

ways of assessing equivalence. This can

cially in unregulated markets, may also

one single international reference, the

be done in one of several ways.

want to set criteria for the re-certification

IFOAM.

of imported products: these opportunities

IFOAM Standards Requirements, also called COROS (Common Objectives and

Officially endorse the IFOAM Family of

Requirements of Organic Standards).

Standards by automatically conside-

can also be taken up by them.

This approach means that the number of assessments needed is only equal to the number of organic regulations / standards in the world. On a regulatory level (the baseline condition for market access), this means only 35 assessments would be needed in the current situation. COROS is a new norm that has been approved by IFOAM membership, as well as by IFOAM, FAO and UNCTAD representatives under the GOMA project.

These initiatives will streamline the regulatory process and improve market access. 48

5-2011 | ECOLOGY & FARMING


DECEMBER 2011 - SEPTEMBER 2012 //

NOVEMBER 30th - DECEMBER 2nd, 2011
 AgriPro Asia (APA) & AgriConference Asia (ACA) Hong Kong, China www.agriproasia.com DECEMBER 5-7th, 2011
 Middle East Natural & Organic Products Expo 2011
 Dubai, United Arab Emirates www.naturalproductme.com
 DECEMBER 8-10, 2011 ACRES USA – Columbus, Ohio Interesting show with approximately 85 booths. Many of the people who attend are into biodynamic farming. www.acresusa.com/events/ events.htm 


DECEMBER 14-16th, 2011
 BioFach India 2011
 Mumbai, India www.biofach-india.com



Calen dar Items

FEBRUARY 1-4, 2012 Eco-Farm Conference Pacific Grove, California www.eco-farm.org/programs/efc/

FEBRUARY 15-18th, 2012
 BioFach Nuremberg
 Nuremberg, Germany
 http://www.biofach.de

FEBRUARY 1-4, 2012 PASA – 21st Farming for the Future Conference, State College, Pennsylvania www.pasafarming.org/ourwork/farming-for-the-futureconference

AUGUST 23-25th, 2012 Natural Products Asia Expo 2012, Hong Kong, China www.naturalproductsasia.com 



FEBRUARY 13-14th, 2012
 GOMA Conference Nuremberg, Germany www.goma-organic.org

SEPTEMBER 12-14th, 2012
 IFOAM Organic Animal Husbandry Conference
 Hamburg, Germany www.ifoam.org/events/ ifoam_conferences/Animal_ Husbandry_2012.html


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Ecology & Farming is a magazine for all elements of the organic movement - from organic farmers’ associations to organizations from the organic food industry and Fair Trade; from research institutions to certifiers; from organic consumers to organic advocates. Eco-logy & Farming provides information on key issues in the organic sector and offers the space for discussions on the topics of the day. The articles published in Ecology & Farming reflect the opinions of their respective authors and should not be interpreted as an official IFOAM position. IFOAM  The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements is the umbrella organization for the organic movement. Established in 1972, IFOAM has over 800 affiliates in more than 100 countries. and represents the common interests of the organic movement based on the principles of organic agriculture (ecology, health, fairness, care). IFOAM’s mission is to lead, assist and unite the organic movement in its full diversity. Peter Brul has been working in the organic sector as a farmer, researcher and consultant for more than 35 years. He combines the role of Chief-Editor of Ecology & Farming with his own consultancy. The Van Westering Groep B.V. have been publishing magazines since 1988. VWG also maintains a focus on ecology through Ekoland, the professional magazine for organic farming in the Netherlands and Belgium and Gezond Bouwen & Wonen, a professional magazine about sustainable building and living.

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We extend our services permanently to serve you best: 1-Stop-Shopping with the certifier Number 1: BCS Please contact us with your requirements and wishes: info@bcs-oeko.de or visit our website at: www.bcs-oeko.com Yours sincerely, Peter Grosch, General Manager and Feben Dufera Grosch, Coordination Africa



Ecology and Farming No 5/2011