Dear readers, nowadays there is a lot of talk about the production of agricultural products of organic origin, but in order for these to be marketed to international markets they must be certified by a certifying agency, previously according to Soto (2001), marketing was carried out directly between the producer and the consumer, but over time, intermediaries began to make inroads and the direct link with agricultural producers was lost and it became necessary for a third party to guarantee to the consumer that the marketed products comply with organic production regulations.
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In this sense, the same author pointed out that the organic production standards were established, in the first instance, by producers and consumers who formed associations of organic producers who founded certification agencies, with the aim of reducing any negative impact of agriculture on the environment, but also respectful of the practical limitations of any production system. After a certification agency has verified compliance with the rules governing the field of organic products, a label is granted to the product that can be considered a guarantee of compliance with the fundamental requirements of an "organic" product from the farm to the market.
Based on the aforementioned, a series of standards have been created, for example, for certification in Europe they can be governed by the EEC Regulation 2092/91, for certification in the United States according to the NOP (National Organic Program) and in Japan according to the JAS (Japanis Accreditation System). Although the aspects of these standards may vary in some aspects, areas such as crop production, bovine production and food processing can be considered within the standards, there are also a kind of manuals that the certifying agencies handle that include the inputs that can be used for each activity, which logically may vary depending on the area where the production unit is located.
Among the aspects that can be considered within a production unit to guarantee organic production are the following:
- Management of the soil with a long-term vision protecting it against erosion and ensuring its biological activity.
- Biodiversity in the production system and its environment should be favored.
- To keep the animals on the farm with optimal feeding and health conditions.
- Recycle materials of plant or animal origin to return nutrients to the earth and minimize the use of synthetic materials.
- Do not use agrochemicals on the farm at least 36 months before harvest, and avoid contamination that applications of agrochemicals in neighboring conventional farms may cause to developing organic crops.
- The production process must not negatively influence the environment.
As can be evidenced, in order for a farm to be certified with organic production, it must follow a series of ecological guidelines that guarantees the sustainability of the system and that the product that will reach the consumer's hands does not contain traces of synthetic residues, that is, implement agroecological strategies such as organic fertilization, biologic pest control, ecological tillage among other agroecological practices that the agricultural producer must take into account in his management plan.
Anyway, dear readers, organic agricultural products should be produced in agroecosystems where basically the use of fertilizers and synthetic agrochemicals is avoided and prepare the soils with organic fertilizers for an extensive period of more than two years prior to sowing or planting, that is, more than three years prior to the first harvest in the case of perennial crops. What can be visualized is that any production unit cannot be considered as an organic ecosystem to export its products if it does not meet the aforementioned requirements, something that we really consider relevant to ensure that the crops are free of synthetic residues.
Thank you for reading our article, in the next installment we will share an example, about what an organic management plan could look like on a livestock farm.
- Soto, M. (2001). Certification of organic products: The necessary guarantee to join the international market. Comuniica, 5 (17), p. 26-36.
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