Ukraine is an important supplier for organic grains and oilseeds for Western Europe. However, the rapid and sustained growth of the organic market has recently been threatened by contaminated sunflower cake that hit the European market in the second half of 2014. On September 23-24, producers, processors, traders, certification bodies, and authorities including the European Commission and several EU member states discussed ways forward for strengthening the integrity of the organic supply chain in Kyiv. "We agreed that market transparency and communication among all stakeholders, as well as fair pricing, are vital to avoid fraud" concluded Beate Huber from FiBL.
The traders and importers underlined their responsibility and committed themselves to exercise due diligence in their transactions to safeguard organic integrity.
Jochen Neuendorff from the certifier GfRS and board member of the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC) explained "The certification bodies present on the AFI workshop committed themselves to increased rigor and application of best risk-management tools. As an example, it was made clear that Ukrainian operators and traders previously certified by ETKO and SGS Austria, both suspended by the European Commission, must have changed to another EU-recognized control body before the suspensions of the aforementioned certification bodies came into force on July 8, 2015."
"We appreciate the collaboration of the European Commission and the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, and welcome their inclusion of organic farming as a strategic priority along with the implementation of the national organic regulation." said Bo van Elzakker.
The declaration adopted by the participants further underlined the needs of sharing knowledge, technology transfer, and application of intelligent quality management systems to help improve farming techniques.
The event was supported by the Swiss State Secretariat in the framework of the project "Consolidation of the Local Organic Certification Bodies".
A report and the presentations of the Ukrainian event will be published shortly on the Anti-Fraud Initiative website www.organic-integrity.org.
organic-integrity.org: Homepage of the AntiFraud Initiative