NGO to Issue Certificates for Organic Veggies

Farmers taking pains to grow genuine organic crops will have their efforts rewarded with certificates in a bid to encourage ethical farming and provide them with a competitive advantage, according to a local agriculture NGO.

The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (Cedac) will issue the certificates to farmers who comply with a set of rules and regulations.

The produce will then be packaged with labels identifying them as organic, said Cedac president Yang Saing Koma at a workshop Tuesday.

“In order to build confidence in consumers and manage the market more effectively and efficiently, we would encourage individual Cambodian farmers to apply standards of organic vegetable production,” he said.

The certificates, which have to be renewed on a yearly basis, are expected to allow farmers to command a price 10 percent higher than non-organic varieties.

To be awarded the certificate, the applicant is required to follow a nine-point list of standards of organic vegetable production.

“Farmers also have to show their production activities…for one year prepare a production and sales plan and respect the principles before being awarded the certificate with approval from our certification committee,” said Keam Makarady, director of the health and environment program at Cedac.

Hean Vanhan, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ general directorate of agriculture, said the government was in the process of establishing national standards for organic vegetable production and would have them ready sometime next year.

“We don’t have national standards for organic vegetables yet, so producers can claim—with certificates issued by other organizations—that their vegetable products are organic. However, after the adoption, they will have to follow the national standards instead of the current ones,” Mr. Vanhan said.

Mr. Makarady said Cedac would follow the government standards once they have been established.

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