The EAEU unifies requirements for production and labeling of organic products
In the Kyrgyz city of Cholpon Ata, the Roadmap for the formation of a common market for organic agricultural products in the Eurasian Economic Union was agreed and signed. The document was adopted at the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council on August 19–20. This was reported by the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).
Legal framework in EAEU
The area of certified "organic lands" in EAEU is growing, which is about 900 thousand hectares, and the number of producers of such products has exceeded 1300. Very similar processes are taking place in the EAEU countries today. Parties went the way from the first experiments on the introduction of organic agriculture to a non-systemic, fragmented the formation of national strategies for the development of this type of agricultural activity. In some countries (Armenia and Kazakhstan) more successful legislation was accepted, in the rest – less successful laws governing the production and circulation of organic products. The laws have already visible shortcomings that can be corrected if international experience is used critically and rationally. The search for "one's own path" results in serious financial and economic losses for organic producers and hinders development of organic agriculture.
EAEU countries are at various development stages of the legal framework and in different institutional conditions of functioning in the spheres of production and circulation organic products. All Member States have adopted framework laws on organic products. Specified laws they have been operating in Armenia and Kazakhstan for quite a long time. In Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, the laws came into force in November 2019, in Russia - from January 1, 2020.
In general, in the EAEU countries, the basic concepts and, as a consequence, approaches to the development of organic production differ significantly. The presence of many certification systems confuses the consumer, complicates the traceability of organic products. This creates barriers to the circulation of organic products in the internal market of the EAEU. In order to ensure smooth circulation, increase mutual trade and develop a common market for organic products, the EAEU countries should unify national requirements for organic products and their production processes, as well as form equivalent accreditation systems and certification.
Analysis of the legislation of the parties showed differences in the labeling of organic products, approaches to production regulation, certification and standardization, accreditation of conformity assessment bodies. In this regard, it was deemed expedient to build a system for regulating the circulation of organic matter in the Union by preparing a supranational act aimed at mutual recognition of documents on conformity assessment of organic production based on the unification of national legislation.
What does a new document give
Now the EEC, together with the countries of the Union, can begin the preparation of an international treaty in order to facilitate the free movement of organic agricultural products within the EAEU. An important point was the unification of the requirements for the production and labeling of goods with the "organic" sign. This will help create a unified certification system for organic production in the Eurasian Union. The new documents will also address the issues of import, statistical accounting of production and circulation of organic agricultural products.
How the organic market is developing in the EAEU
The areas involved in organic agriculture on the territory of the EAEU countries occupy no more than one percent of the total arable land area of the EAEU. Artak Kamalyan, Member of the Board (Minister) for Industry and Agro-Industrial Complex of the EEC, expressed the hope that after the adoption and phased implementation of the roadmap, the development of rural organic farming in the Eurasian Economic Union will grow to tangible proportions.
In assurance of the implementation of the roadmap, the EEC will prepare recommendations to the Union countries on all pressing issues of providing access to organic agricultural products, which will be produced in the member states, to the markets of third countries. Program developers will rely on international experience in this area, in the future this will help EAEU producers to export organic products from the union to external premium markets, for example, cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) will be established.
According to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), in recent decades, the global organic market has shown steady growth, its volume exceeded 106 billion euros. The natural resource potential of the EAEU countries makes it possible to occupy a significant share of this market.
You can find more information about the trends in the development of organic agriculture in the EAEU here.