Organic Farming Certification and Standards

Being certified as an organic farm can help your farm in many ways, as it provides consumers with a guarantee that the produce has been produced in a natural way. In addition, as the organic food industry grows and people become more aware of the nutritional and environmental benefits of organically grown produce, being able to state that your farm is certified as organic could give you the upper hand over competitors.

Each country how its own standards which dictate what is classified as organic and what is not. These standards are agreed on and then regulatory bodies check on whether all these standards are being met before they certify an organisation as organic. Any organisation involved in food production, from seed suppliers, to farmers, to restaurants can be certified as organic if they comply with the stipulated standards for that country. In general, the standards which need to be met in order to be certified as organic include:

1. Not using chemical inputs in food production, including chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms and sewage sludge.

2. That the farmland has been free from chemicals for three or more years.

3. Always keeping organic products separate from inorganic products.

4. Keeping detailed records of production and sales data.

5. And agreeing to site visits by inspectors.

It is best to get in contact with a local certification body in your country to get their set of requirements for certification, as well as details of the costs involved before you start the process of becoming certified.

Here in South Africa the Bio-Dynamic & Organic Certification Authority is the only Indigenous Organic Certification Company in the country. While companies from the local industry can be certified by foreign companies, it is important that South Africa builds its own organic Industry and eventually has its own set of standards for certification.