Quality certification gains importance in export fruit growing
02 May 2020
Markets are becoming increasingly demanding regarding food safety and production conditions. Living up to the requirements is feasible and convenient.
“The requirements to commercialize food in the world have increased in recent years. The main requirement for fruit and vegetable productions is that they check the safety of food, both in the production process in the field and later, when handling and industrializing it, “says Enrique Kurincic, professor of the FAUBA Chair in Rural Administration and Specialist in Agribusiness and Food at the Graduate School of that Faculty.
In addition, he stated: “There is also a demand to demonstrate social responsibility, which includes from ensuring the formal registration of employees, complying with adequate wages for their work, to conditioning safety in production. And other demands that are emerging have to do with ethical trade and care for the environment. ”
In dialogue with the UBA’s scientific media outlet “Sobre la Tierra”, Kurincic expressed that these requirements were reflected in international quality standards and certifications such as GLOBALG.A.P., Which certifies good agricultural practices in production; HACCP, which is a safety test in the handling processes, and GRASP, an integrated scheme to the GLOBALG.A.P., That evaluates social responsibility in primary production.
“The economies of many regions of the country depend on the fruit sector. For example, the production of pears and apples in the Río Negro Valley, or that of lemons in Tucumán. The main objective of these activities is usually to reach the external market. So, they must respond to the quality standards that are asked of them. In order to know the main international demands on the fruit sector, in my thesis work I surveyed producers, technical advisers, chambers and associations of export fruit producers from different parts of Argentina ”, he explained.
“External demands for quality began in the 1990s. Fundamentally, they were based on reducing the use of agrochemicals and applying certain safety practices, within the framework of INTA’s Integrated Production protocols. A good number of producers adapted and, although the demands changed over time, those who followed them managed to accommodate themselves, “said the researcher.
And he added: “Those who wanted to reach the export market without experience had more difficulties, in part, because to access the certifications it is necessary to modify the management of the productions, for example, to keep a systematized record of their activities and to train the personnel. It is essential to be able to change habits. ”
Kurincic ,, investigated the obstacles that producers found to comply with external regulations and emphasized that one of the main limitations is the lack of custom in recording the activities of the fruit farm.
The FAUBA teacher said that the enterprises that met the certification requirements requested by the international market did so, in most cases, without significant monetary investment. Those producers who began to register their activities managed to access the certifications and substantially improved the control and management of their processes and, with it, their economic and operational results. “They were able to do it because they had more information, and more orderly, about their productive dynamics,” he said.
“Complying with quality standards improves food, human and environmental aspects. Most of the external requirements are matters of common sense. There is a demand to produce safe food, to take care of the environment and to protect the workers, “he affirmed, and closed:” I understand that some people consider that these demands represent “barriers” to trade. For my part, I believe that serving them opens up possibilities to enrich production systems, including for the domestic market and its consumers. ”