Fairtrade Calls on European Union to Simplify Rules For The Benefit of Producers

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Fairtrade International supports the objectives of the EU Organic Regulation to strengthen the organic integrity of production, however full compliance with the regulation in its current form will have a negative impact on Fairtrade certified organic producers and traders in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The 2018 regulation encompasses the rules for organic production and the labelling of organic products. It covers aspects such as production standards, certification, labelling, and advertising of organic food and feed. The new regulation replaced the 2007 version, and applies to all organic products produced, processed, packed, or imported within the EU or Northern Ireland. The EU Organic Regulation has been in effect for operators in the EU since January 2022, and there is a transition period for non-EU countries until 31 December 2024.

Fairtrade is calling on European Union to simplify the applicable rules, in particular the definition of 'Groups of Operators,' which as a legal entity are composed only of organic or in-conversion farmers as statutory members, who are all under the new farm size/organic turnover limit (<5 hectare total land OR <€25,000 organic turnover) and have up to a maximum of 2,000 members. Some certified producer groups meet the 'Group of Operators' definition, but the majority of currently certified groups will need to set up new legal group entities for EU certification, which will be extremely challenging.

Plus, the new requirements for permitted materials for in particular plant protection need to be further clarified as they are not understood by producers. The procedures for residue testing before import into the EU are also quite cumbersome and needs to be simplified.

Fairtrade is also urging that once the rules are clarified that the transition period be extended by at least 15 months, which would be mean until 31 December 2025 at the earliest. And finally, Fairtrade is requesting the EU to provide support measures in the form of technical guidance and funding to producer organisations to not only help them to meet the requirements but also incentivise organic farming.

Right now, according to our estimates, 60 percent of Fairtrade certified organic coffee producers, 60 percent of Fairtrade certified organic cocoa producers, and 95 percent of Fairtrade organic small-scale banana producers do not currently meet the new EU Organic Regulation.

For more information:
Fairtrade International
Bonner Talweg 177
53129 Bonn - Germany
Tel: +49 228 949230

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