Asian countries speed up their uptake of EUREPGAP
Acknowledging this EUREPGAP has organized its annual event in Bangkok on 6th and 7th September 2007. Expert speakers from more than 13 countries will share their views and experience in setting up farm assurance certification in Asia.
Kristian Moeller, Secretary EUREPGAP, said “Although Asia/Pacific shares just 5% of all world-wide EUREPGAP certificates, we are seeing a very high growth rate in Asia . Asia is rapidly catching up, especially due to the number of initiatives to build national schemes for Good Agricultural Practice, such as ThaiGAP, MalaysiaGAP, ChinaGAP and JGAP (Japan) which will be referenced directly (benchmarked) to the EUREPGAP global standard.“
The plenary day (7th September) of the 8th EUREPGAP Conference will be opened by the Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kosit Punpienmrat. Delegates will learn how smallscale farmers are organising to obtain certification as well as hear the requirements of international and local retailers. The major theme of the event is how to “Think Global but Act Local”. Regional industry leaders and public officials will explain how to benefit from a globally harmonized GAP standard through the establishment of EUREPGAP multistakeholder National Technical Work Groups.
”Timing and location are perfect for this year`s event, in a region where the public and private sectors are working together to plan and implement Good Agricultural Practices for both export and local markets,“ said Nigel Garbutt, Chairman of EUREPGAP.
At the conference we will also begin to finalise the consultation process for the EUREPGAP Shrimp standard with a specially convened one day workshop for key stakeholders. The shrimp standard is expected to be available for certification by the end of this year.
The Conference Programme and online registration is available at the special event website www.eurepgap2007.org.
EUREPGAP Asia Conference
6/7 September 2007
public relations /website administrator
EUREPGAP c/o FoodPLUS GmbH,
Spichernstr. 55, 50672 Koeln, Germany
Koeln HRB 35211, Managing Director Dr. Kristian Moeller
Tel: +49 (0) 2 21-5 79 93-82; Fax: -89
EurepGAP started in 1997 as an initiative by retailers belonging to the Euro-Retailer Produce Working Group (EUREP). British retailers in conjunction with supermarkets in continental Europe were the driving forces. They reacted on growing concerns by the consumers with product safety, environmental and labor standards and decided to take more responsibility for what happened in the supply chain. On the other side the development of common certification standards were also in the interest of many producers. Those with contractual relations to several retailers complained that they had to undergo multiple audits against different criteria every year. On this background EUREP started to work on harmonized standards and procedures for the development of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in conventional agriculture.
EurepGAP is one of the very few globally operating standardisation organizations that enjoy a high level of political and financial independence from the public sector as well as from individual member influence and shareholder agendas.
To keep its independence EurepGAP does not conduct the certification process itself. Farmers or farmer groups can only be certified against the EurepGAP criteria by authorized Certification Bodies (CB). A EurepGAP Certification Body is a company fulfilling the requirements for approved EurepGAP CBs to grant EurepGAP certification in the relevant product scope. Currently EurepGAP is working with over 100 CBs in more than 70 countries.
As many other on-farm quality assurance systems have been in place for some time prior to the existence of EurepGAP, a way had to be found to encourage the development of regionally adjusted integrated crop management systems and so to prevent farmers from expensive multiple audits. Existing national or regional quality assurance schemes that have successfully completed their benchmarking process are recognized as equivalent to EurepGAP.
EurepGAP members include retailers, producers/farmers and associate members from the input and service side of agriculture. Governance is by a Board which is chaired by an independent Chairperson. The Board also agrees on the activity plan of the organisation. Sector Committees discuss and decide upon product and sector specific issues. All committees have 50% retailer and 50% producer/supplier representation and hereby creating an efficient partnership. The work of the Committees is supported by FoodPLUS, a not for profit limited company based in Cologne, Germany, fulfilling a secretariat function for EurepGAP.
The Executive Management of Foodplus GmbH, i.e. its Managing Director, signs responsible for the implementation of Policies and Standards. Financial and legal ownership and responsability for FoodPLUS GmbH holds the EHI Retail Institute via its 100% Subsidiary EHI-Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH. The EHI Retail Institute also operates the European Retail Academy, a global network of Research Institutes linked to retail activities and topics.
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