Certification – its need and significance
The organic agriculture sector in India is presently experiencing a tremendous growth: all over the country more and more farmers are shifting to Organic Agriculture. So it is very essential that honest organic farmer needs to be protected from unfair competition. Another point is that more and more consumers are becoming aware of organic products as they are looking for safe food. They are ready to pay a premium price for organically produced products. In order to give an assurance for the consumer that a product has been produced organically; only those farmers who grow their production in accordance with the organic standards can label their products with a certificate and can market their produce at a higher price.
Organic standards describe minimum requirements for a farm or product to be certified as ‘organic’. There are organic standards on the national as well as international level. For certification, the standards of the target market or importing country are relevant.
In 2000, the Government of India released the National Standards for Organic Products (NSOP) under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). Products sold or labeled as 'organic' thereafter need to be inspected and certified by a nationally accredited certification body. A copy of the NSOP is available on APEDA's website http://www.apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/organic/index.htm
Most relevant for exports to Europe is the European Regulation EEC 2092/91. An amended version of this complex regulation is available on http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/consleg/main/1991/en_1991R2092_index.html
Being the 'mother of organic standards', IFOAM Basic standards are not standards for certification but standards for standard setting on the national or international level. They are regularly reviewed and updated in a democratic process by the IFOAM members from allover the world. The latest copy is available from firstname.lastname@example.org
USDA's National Organic Program regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop harvesting, or handling operation that wants to sell an agricultural product as organically produced. http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/indexIE.htm Organic certification is offered for the following avenues:
Farm certification is necessary whenever farm products need to be labeled and marketed as organic.
Processing certification is necessary whenever an organic product is being processed in some way or another and need to be labeled and marketed as organic. It may involve simple operation from drying or it may be as complicated as a multi-ingredient food product that is processed at a number of different facilities before getting the finished product. If a farmer is processing only his own certified raw materials, at his own processing unit, it can be considered as on farm processing. If he is processing at an outside processing unit OR adding other ingredients to his certified produce OR processing other 'not certified produce' at his own processing unit, it is off farm processing. Both on farm and off farm processing must be subjected to inspection by the certification body, if the processed product is to be labeled and marketed as "Organic".
Wild collection certification is required whenever wild products are to be marketed as organic. Wild products are native or indigenous crops that are not intentionally grown and are harvested from non-cultivated areas. e.g. medicinal plants and herbs, wild mushrooms etc.
Apiculture certification is required whenever honey needs to be certified and marketed as organic. The evaluation process includes organic beekeeping system, documentation and onsite inspection of the apiary unit.
In order to show the buyers in the market or shops that a product is organic, labels are used. Like brand names these labels are registered and protected and can be used only by certified farmers, processors and sellers. Organic certification confirms that a product has been grown and processed according to specific organic standards. Labels and certification help the consumers to recognize trustworthy organic products easily. Therefore the whole chain from farmer to seller is certified in order to build trust.
NSOP means National Standards for Organic Production, which has been formulated by Dept. of Commerce, Govt. of India for National Program for Organic Production
It is the National Program for Organic Production formulated by Dept. of Commerce, Govt. of India.
An Internal Control System (ICS) is the part of a documented quality assurance system that allows an external certification body to delegate the periodical inspection of individual group members to an identified body or unit within the certified operator. This means that the third party certification bodies only have to inspect the well-functioning of the system, as well as to perform a few spot-check re-inspections of individual smallholders.
The rational behind ICSs for group certification is two-fold:
Group certification enables smallholders to access organic markets and enables developing countries to commercialize their products at the international level. ICSs also provide a good basis for sound quality systems to ensure organic quality and provide consumers with imported organic products at reasonable cost.