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Small growers’ organic certification scheme launch

Small growers’ organic certification scheme launched

A government funded project to develop an affordable certification scheme for small scale organic growers was launched on Friday 8th November by the Soil & Health Association.

Bio-Gro NZ has been involved in this project since its inception and has a formal agreement with Soil & Health for Bio-Gro’s role in the scheme. Bio-Gro will provide the production rules for growers to operate under and technical input as required. Bio-Gro will also carry out external audits of the overall system to ensure that the certification processes measure up to agreed standards and that the scheme is operating with integrity at all levels. The certification process for Organic Farm NZ has some significant differences to most international certification practises, in that the scheme relies heavily on regional and local internal audit and peer review.

Certification under Organic Farm NZ does not imply Bio-Gro certification in any way. While producers with Organic Farm NZ certification will be operating to the Bio-Gro Production Standards, they will be certified under a different process. Hence they will not have access to regulated markets or the use of the Bio-Gro trademark, as Bio-Gro’s certification systems must operate in accordance with international requirements which require all producers to be audited by Bio-Gro each year. Bio-Gro also operates its own group certification scheme which meets international standards.

Bio-Gro welcomes the development of Organic Farm NZ to provide regional and community based certification for small scale organic producers. “We are looking forward to playing a part in ensuring that this scheme can stand on its own merits and meet the expectations of organic consumers” said Seager Mason, CEO Bio-Gro.

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