U.S. Ambassador in Spain, Eduardo Aguirre, surrendered a paper to the public Eccysa (Entity of Control of Foods & Services Certification) accredited by the NOP that can certify organic products throughout Spain for export market to U.S.
In Rioja, currently various figures of quality of agricultural products and food exist, as the protected designations of origin, protected geographical indications, Guarantee Marks RC, Mushrooms of Rioja, or organic agriculture. All these figures of quality must meet strict regulations on the basis of a regulation, specifications or technical standards in order to become a consumer diversities, higher food safety practices and careful with the environment. This should be a strict self by producers and / or processors and an external audit to ensure compliance with these standards.
There is increasing demand of society and governments in consuming quality products: products that minimize risks to health and safety of people, the environment and generally provide greater satisfaction to consumers. Food products with designation of origin or organic products are some examples of quality products.
ECCYSA born in 2002 as an entity attached to the Agriculture and Economic Development in order to provide the necessary inspection and external human resources and technical expertise to all the operators of the various figures of quality food in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja (19 at present). Among its aims are:
- The inspection and certification of products from existing quality of the figures under the different legal systems, European, national and regional.
- Providing all kinds of activities and services that contribute to the maintenance and development of agriculture, food, crafts, environmental quality and safety.
- Collaboration with other public and governmental agencies in the fields of agro-industrial activities, craft, environmental and food quality and safety.
- The promotion of agriculture, agro-industrial, craft, environmental and dissemination of business and agro-industrial products, handicraft in Rioja.
There is now a growing demand for agricultural products and foodstuffs from organic form. This phenomenon has created a new market for agricultural products obtained with this method of production.
Organic agriculture is defined as an agricultural system whose main objective is to obtain the highest quality food while respecting the environment, conserving soil fertility and water quality through the optimal utilization of natural resources, excluding use of synthetic chemicals and ensuring a sustainable development of agriculture and livestock.
All operators producing, preparing, importing or marketing products bearing indications referring to organic production should be subjected to regular inspection system, meeting minimum Community requirements and is carried out by designated inspection authorities and / or by approved and supervised.
Organic production in Rioja has experienced a dramatic increase in the approximately eight years that have elapsed since the beginning of its implementation in Rioja, in the number of operators, which currently exceeds 320, as in the cultivated area, which is about 8609 hectares.
This data can give an idea of what will be the future of this sector, for which there are some consumers willing to pay more for these products, if properly ensures that they have been obtained following the standards of operations established and growing by the applicable regulations.
The 90% of Rioja production exports to countries in central and northern Europe (United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and France) as well as United States.
Given the upward trend of consumers of these products and the figures for other countries in areas allocated to them, it can be concluded that this is a growth opportunity for the national agriculture sector should not be missed by stakeholders, which would mean the adequacy of supply to consumer demands, while ensuring a conducive setting incomes of the population in rural and sustainable development. It is also interesting to note that the United States organic market in 2006 was around 20,000 million dollars.
Of all the organic products are some of Rioja with better market positions and greater capabilities. Wine, fruits and vegetables are the most competitive products, including dried fruit, honey and fresh fruits and vegetables.
In October 2002, the NOP came into force (National Organic Plan) in the United States, where the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture United States) found that as of that date, all those products that are organic to be exported to that country, had to qualify for the U.S. production of organic products under the new NOP.
The entry into force of the New Eco United States is a major challenge for companies exporting organic products to market. Many Spaniard products, including those of Rioja, must be certified by accredited organic by the USDA.
Under the terms of the NOP, farms or industries that produce and develop organic products that want to export to U.S. must be certified by authorized agents approved by the Department of Agriculture USDA.
United States, the world's largest market for organic products, need to supply its domestic demand for imports from third countries, thus opening new opportunities for the domestic market.
In October 2002, ECCYSA applied to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture of the United States for inclusion in the list of applicants to obtain accreditation as a certification body for organic agriculture, a road that culminating in its acquisition in August 2004.
Initially the scope of ECCYSA is limited to the Autonomous Community of La Rioja (producers of grapes, vegetables, wine producers and vegetable). Currently, ECCYSA has expanded its certification to six other regions (Galicia, Spain, Navarra, Castilla-La Mancha, Murcia and Valencia), increasing the number of active licenses from nine to fifty, covering a wide range of products such as oil , vinegar, wine, nuts, spices. For this year 2007, the goal is to expand the number of licenses in two new communities: Castilla y Leon and Extremadura.
ECCYSA Spanish is the only entity accredited by the Department of Agriculture United States (USDA) to certify, in any territory under NOP standards, organic products to be exported to the U.S. market.
Objectives of accreditation:
- Enabling the export of organic products from Spain to the world's largest organic market, certificates Spanish avoiding having to engage with European institutions already accredited.
- Avoiding buyers and exporters / importers of organic products from the Rioja and other regions are forced to buy products from other regions or countries that have received the NOP certification.
- Nationally and internationally prestige as a certifier accredited by the USDA.
- For the consumer, confidence in the supplier to ensure that the product has been evaluated by an independent and competent entity.
- Increased freedom of choice and promoting a free market, but reliable.
Advantages of accreditation:
- The accreditation gives the food industry to guarantee the reliability of the results of the activity.
- Accreditation versus standardized rules is an additional guarantee of stability and homogeneity of the results of their activity.
- It is a clear mechanism to improve and guarantee the legal and technical results of their activities.