On September 21-22 the International Conference “Improving Integrity of Organic Supply Chains” took place in Odesa.
The conference was organized by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), GfRS, AgroEco – Louis Bolk Institute in cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) upon an initiative of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The main aim of the Conference was to discuss the pressing issues related to international organic trade. Over 160 participants from Ukraine, the EU countries and the USA took part in the event.
“This Conference is a very important event for us and the opportunity to establish a direct dialogue with our partners, taking into account the leading role of Ukraine at the “organic” map of the world and global challenges which organic stakeholders face these days due to imperfect existing control and traceability mechanisms. We see that the topic is of vital importance for all big players at the organic market and we had an opportunity to have discussions both with European Commission and USDA representatives”, said Olga Trofimtseva.
The Deputy Minister also noted that in the framework of this Conference the ways to improve transparency of organic value chains and concrete steps to be taken at the governmental level to prevent fraud in this sector were discussed.
“On the part of Ukraine we recognize our commitments to implement a full-fledged state regulation and control in organic agriculture. Our partners in the USA or EU, where Ukrainian organic products are primarily consumed, do not only expect implementation of new Draft Law No 5448 which is scheduled for voting in the parliament but also prompt establishment of an open and transparent database of Ukrainian organic producers», stated the Deputy Minister.
In her opinion, these two vitally important steps will help to make Ukrainian organic market transparent and traceable and provide us with arguments in communication with importers of Ukrainian organic products in case of fraud or unfair competition.
According to Olga Trofimtseva, both representatives of the European Commission and USDA agreed that among the main tools to increase transparency of organic supply chains shall be more active use of innovative information technologies and quick information exchange among state authorities of exporting and importing countries as well as establishment of unified and harmonized databases on organic production and trade, unification of rules and requirements to producers, certification and control bodies.
“All the stated steps may only be implemented through joint efforts. And on behalf of Ukraine, we will initiate and support work in this direction, including to remedy the situation with not really positive image of Ukraine as organic supplier. I hope that we will be committed to the principle of equal responsibility of all parties along the supply chain. This means that in case of falsification of organic agricultural products or any other cases of fraud concrete guilty companies will be held liable, whether they are producers, traders or certification bodies, including in importing countries”, emphasized Olga Trofimtseva.
Based on the results of the Conference the joint declaration was adopted which formalized the main results of this event and defined the next steps which the participants planned to take in order to increase transparency of organic supply chains in the world.
For reference: Ukraine ranks the 11th in Europe for the area of certified organic agricultural land. The key countries importing Ukrainian organic products: Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, the USA, and Canada. Statistics on organic production as of 31.12.2016 based on monitoring carried out by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine and Reform Support Office: area of certified organic land – 156,879 ha; total area of agricultural land under control of certification bodies – 306,366 ha, total number of organic operators – 414 (including: 128 traders, processors, operators without any data on total land area and certified area). It is a basis for the register of Ukrainian organic operators. 17 certification bodies are active in Ukraine (Regulation EC No 1235/2008), which is a basis for the register of certification bodies in Ukraine.
Media Office of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine