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Naturland World Advisory Board addresses EU Commission

IMG 20190527 150647350

Naturland faces with great concern the proposals of the EU-Commission for group certification. The EU commission proposed two implementing rules in September this year that are seriously affecting the current practice of smallholder certification in the South. The rules proposed concern the legal status of the producer groups as well as the size of the groups. Naturland demands that group organised by processors as well as exporters should be continued to be recognized as a legal entity and setting a rigid limit of the size of a producer will not necessarily contribute to quality.

Naturland currently works with over 60, 000 farmers that are certified in 120 producer groups through the system of group certification according to the EU organics regulation. Most of the producer groups in Latin America, Africa and Asia are producing coffee, coco products, tropical fruits, spices, tea, and cocoa for the export to Germany and Europe. Naturland has developed and implemented internal control systems and trained smallholder farmers groups for more than 25 years.

The Naturland president and World Advisory Board sent their letter of concern to the German Ministry of Agriculture as well as to the EU Commission alerting that the ideas stipulated in this draft of the EU will have a substantially negative impact on millions of smallholder farmers on the whole world. It will hamper the market access to Europe for numerous smallholder farmers and destabilise organic value chains built-up over decades. The proposed system could lead to substantial additional financial expenses of smallholder farmers without improving the quality of certification.

The Naturland delegates' meeting is the association's highest decision-making body and meets twice a year. It is made up of 30 Naturland farmers from Germany, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe (excluding Germany). The interests of international Naturland farms are also represented by the World Advisory Board, which advises Naturland's Executive Committee on issues relating to the association's international orientation and development.