Certification

The role

Certification is the point of difference between biological farming and  organic business!

Market opportunity!!

Biological farming & organic businessThe role of certified organic systems is simply to have verified by an independent third party that the food /fibre is produced according to the market requirements of any given market. Thus a product produced to a NZ only standard cannot be exported to the USA or EU.

When choosing a certifier it is then important to have a market or range of markets in mind. The market requirements are different and you may have product that can enter EU but not the USA or some of the Asian markets. You may end up with 1000 lambs and through the production period need to treat some of them with a particular product or feed a different regime(drought, etc) and end up marketing various percentages into different markets ---all gaining an organic market premium ----all accepted as organic in that market. You may even have some that meet no organic market requirement, these can still be sold at full conventional market so nothing lost!

To sell 800 of your lambs at the high value organic market and 200 at the conventional market price would show a good return on a $1500± investment (cost of certification) .

Organic Certification food/ fibreView certification as a marketing tool not a bureaucratic compliance hassle. If you are marketing red roses and I was producing pink ones....pink//red---how pink is red? If a premium is there I will try to move the line! This is why we have the ISO accreditations etc in world marketing, (one might ask how much melamine is acceptable).


The system

The producer of food/fibre under the organic certification writes a management plan in accordance with the desired market requirements. This is accepted by an approved organisation.

The organisation will need to have credentials; these come from IFOAM, ISO, and a range of governments (marketplaces). It is a system of check, recheck, and then check the recheck. There are always those wishing to cut corners and the wise marketer (farmers are marketers) should always be looking at credibility to secure long term profitability thru long term high value market access.

So who is involved and what is there role;

 

IFOAM

The International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements.

IFOAM was conceived in 1972. The President of the French farmers' organization, Nature et Progrès conceived of a worldwide appeal to come together to ensure a future for organic agriculture and from there, people working in alternative agriculture banded together from, initially, as far apart as India and England. Voluntary standards were developed as a base for international trade and these have formed the base of many governmental regulations and laws around trade in organic food/fibre.

There is representation on various committees from around the world. This organisation  is made up of producers and consumers.
Find out more about the history of IFOAM at;

http://www.ifoam.org

Or simply all aspects of IFOAM at ; www.ifoam.org

 

New Zealand Food Safety Authority.

NZFSA has a set of Technical Rules for Organic Production;
The main role of NZFSA is to work with other governments around issues of market access and then to accredit NZ organisations to carry out the production audits and verify export certificates etc.
View a copy of the;


USDA NOP

The United States of America Department of Agriculture administer the National Organic Programme which is regulation in accordance with the Organic Food Production Act. If there is a difference of opinion between a producer/consumer/agency etc this is sorted out in court'the organic regulations are law. Exporting from NZ to the US requires certification to the USDA NOP.
NZFSA has at this time (NOV 08) given credentials to AsureQuality and BioGro NZ to act as Third Party Agencies (TPA's) in relation to the US market.
View a copy of the;


EU

These are the rules that allow for the sale of organic product in the European Union.
For NZ producers these are applied by the TPA's and incorporated into the NZFSA NZ Technical Rules for Organic Production.
To view the EU regulations;


Canada

For access to the Canadian market the 'Canadian Organic Regime' (COR) is the regulation that needs to be met.Below are links to the COR, premitted substances list. there is a  link page where an understanding of the relationship between Canada and the USA and other agenices is possible.


The certifiers

AsureQuality

AsureQuality is accredited to certify for both domestic and export to international standards.
To view AsureQuality organic standards/rules;


BioGro NZ

BioGro NZ is accredited to certify for both domestic and export to international standards.
To view BioGro NZ organic standards / rules;


Demeter

Operated by the New Zealand Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association in NZ Inc. this standard represents production practices relating to Biodynamic production. This is based on the lectures by R Steiner in 1924.

The Demeter label does not meet border control for enter into most countries, but does have the potential to gain access to Biodynamic or specialised shops once across the border. Hence there are growers/farmers with a TPA + Demeter certification.

To view the Demeter standards;


Far North Organics

Far North Organic Growers and Producers Society Inc (FNOG) provide certification for producers wishing to sell to their local market and also administer the Far North Branch of Organic Farm NZ (OFNZ). OFNZ is a certification scheme working under the Bio-Gro standards for the domestic market which allows your produce to be sold Nationwide.
Visit the Far North Organic website to find out more

 

Organic Farm NZ

OrganicFarmNZ is an organic certification scheme designed to be a low cost certification system for (generally) small-scale growers supplying the New Zealand market only.

Established 2002 it has properties from 1ha to 100ha.

The OFNZ system uses the BioGro standards.

OFNZ website;

 

TeWaka Kia Ora

© Hua Maori is Te Waka Kai Ora's organic certification scheme and labelling system.  Members who wish to attain certification must comply with the standards set by this verification process.  © Hua Maori conforms to internationally recognised organic standards and accepted New Zealand standards but also adopts an indigenous framework that recognises Maori values and approaches to food production.  This includes the incorporation of Maori tikanga (protocol) and the spiritual, physical and metaphysical attributes that have guided our traditional organic economies for millennia.
Find out more

 

Pitfalls/ IssuesPitfalls/ Issues

  • It is imperative that you read the glossary/definitions section of the standard you are referring to.  Of main note is when the word 'organic ' is used it nearly always refers to an item certified under the standard you are reading. Stock, hay and other feeds are not always compliant when transferred between properties under the audit of different certifiers.  The same can apply to other terms such as supplement, stored feed, etc.
  • Ensure you understand the 'transition' or 'conversion' criteria and terms for each certifier. These are usually referred to as; C0=first 12 months; C1=12months -24months; C2=24months-36months; beyond 36 months is normally full certification.
  • Never rely on your mate, neighbour, best friend, consultant or anyone other than the written permission/interpretation of a standard/rule by the auditor from the organisation that you are certified with. Don't take action until you have this written ruling in you procession (not a promise of in the mail), fax and email can have it to you very quickly.
  • Join the OrganicAg Extension Group and get up-skilled by mixing with farmers/growers who have been there -done that and are only too willing to help.