More and more producers bet on organic certification

28 May 2023

The seal is a guarantee of confidence for the consumer. In Argentina, SENASA is the entity in charge of generating regulations, designing and guaranteeing the control system. At national level, there are four authorized certifiers.

Organic, ecological and biological production is becoming increasingly important in marketing. The fact is that products free of pesticides have an added value for consumers who are mainly interested in the production processes. In Misiones, organic production is growing in order to protect the healthy consumption of its inhabitants. In Argentina, the National Agri-Food Health and Quality Service (SENASA) is the agency in charge of the qualification of certifiers trained to endorse the quality of the products.

Anna Park is a hundred-year love story. A love patiently cultivated in synchrony with Nature“, is how Juan Barney described Anna Park yerba, a product of Obereño origin. Barney is a third generation agroecological producer. In 1920, his grandfather, Eric Barney, carried out the first yerba plantation that would give rise to the product that today has international organic certification.

The organic certification seal is a guarantee of confidence for consumers, who expect that only organic inputs, such as biopesticides, biofertilizers and biostimulants, have been used in the production of the food they buy. At the same time, the principles of organic production must contemplate natural resources, apply cultural, biological and mechanical methods, maintain or increase soil fertility and biodiversity, conserve water resources and avoid the use of chemical synthesis products that are toxic to the environment.

Being organic as a conviction

“In the 1990s we became organic with the Organización Internacional Agropecuaria (OIA). The batch registration process took some time”, Juan Barney told The procedure is monitored by the regulatory body. “At least 5 years must pass without the use of agrochemicals and poisons,” he explained.

Organización Internacional Agropecuaria (OIA) is a pioneer in certification in Argentina. Since 1991, the SENASA-approved entity has been operating as a certifier of plant, animal and processed products.

In continuity, Barney stressed that being organic is more important than a seal. “Being organic has to do with a strong philosophy of conservationism, with respecting nature and the people who choose us. For us, it means planting trees in the yerba mate fields so that the birds can have their homes. To be organic is to keep the soil alive and covered for microbiology,” he said.

Under the slogan, “The future is organic”, the owner of Anna Park assured that the agroecological vision is presented as a new paradigm. “It is what is coming in the world” he said.

Along the same lines, the producer pointed out that Anna Park stands out for its production process. The company harvests the yerbales every two years. This allows the trees to undergo a complete biological process. “In this way we obtain mature leaves with more properties” he said.

How to obtain the organic seal

The organic seal is endorsed by a certifying company. In Argentina, SENASA is the entity in charge of generating regulations, designing and guaranteeing the control system for organic production. At the same time, it qualifies certifiers, requests audits to certifying entities and carries out supervisory visits to organic operators. In this way, it generates statistics on the sector and reports for countries with which it has a recognition of equivalence of the control system.

At the national level there are four certifiers authorized by SENASA. They are responsible for keeping records describing the activities throughout the production chain. In this way, they seek to establish evidence of compliance with the organic condition. The records must always be updated and available to the certifying entity and SENASA.

“A product can be labeled and advertised as organic when it comes from a system where organic production practices have been applied, the ingredients and processing must be certified by a certifying agency authorized by SENASA,” explained Nora Puppi, agronomist in charge of the area of Organic Production, under the Directorate of Strategy and Risk Analysis of SENASA.

Verification and compliance process

According to SENASA, organic products and products in conversion to organic agriculture must be labeled and advertised in compliance with the regulations for conventional products. “The label must detail the identifying lot number of origin and processing. In addition, it must have the name of the entity that certified the last stage of the process, its number in the National Registry of Certifying Entities of Organic Products and the official isologotype when applicable,” Puppi explained.

Agrochemicals used, brand name, active ingredient, type of product, pest controlled, product or animal on which the treatment was applied, facilities and machinery used, are some of the requirements that must be submitted to the entity.

To verify the companies’ compliance, the certifiers make inspection visits. An initial inspection is made and then, depending on the risk, one or more annual visits are made. Once compliance with all the requirements has been verified, monitoring begins and once the period of time established by regulation has elapsed, the production system reaches organic status.

Thus, there are more and more enterprises that carry out an organic vision. In the province, the agro-ecological paradigm is gaining importance for retailers and consumers. Through organic seals, buyers guarantee the consumption of healthy food free of pesticides.

Source: Canal12 Misiones