Measures Adopted At Un Trade Conference To Benefit Organic Farmers In Poor Countries

kristy Earth Systems Science

New York, Feb 17 2012 3:05PM
Two agreements that will help farmers in poor countries participate more
fully in the organic food sector were signed at a United Nations-backed
conference on development and trade, the UN announced today.

The agreements, which were reached earlier this week during the two-day
forum in Nuremberg, Germany, will help some two million certified organic
farmers worldwide – most of whom are located in Africa, Asia and Latin
America – participate more effectively in a market that rings up worldwide
sales of $60 billion annually.

On Wednesday, the European Union (EU) and the United States signed an
agreement that will ease the flow of organic products from developing
countries between the two entities. Under the agreement, the produce sent by
organic farmers in developing countries to be processed in the EU or the US
will now automatically qualify for acceptance as an organic product in the
partner market.

Under the new arrangement, for example, coffee from Ethiopia certified as
organic under EU regulations could be sent to a trade partner in Europe and
packaged for sale in both markets. The agreement however, covers only
finished products exported from and certified in the EU or US.

In a news release, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) stressed that while an agreement providing finished products from
developing countries direct access to both markets would be preferable, the
new accord will still boost developing-country organic sales as a large part
of exports consist of ingredients and bulk goods, and it will facilitate
their entry into the two largest markets for certified organic sales.

The other agreement approved during the conference was the Asian Regional
Organic Standard (AROS), which sets parameters for crop production,
processing and labelling of organic products. AROS is equivalent to the
Common Objectives and Requirements for Organic Standards, an international
tool established to ease organic trade.

AROS was approved by the Global Organic Market Access (GOMA) Asian working
group, which consists of representatives from Bhutan, Laos, Thailand, Viet
Nam, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan,
the Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. According to UNCTAD, the
group will now start working on getting AROS formally approved by
governments and regional institutions.
For more details go to UN News Centre at