Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Certification process for organic farming in Kenya

It is a must for all producers and processors of organic products for export to register their enterprises, with an accredited and certified body by European commission. Inspection is first and foremost carried out by the certified body before registration. The farms/firms must undergo this exercise in order to be awarded an organic certificate. The farm applies for inspection by filling a form from the European Union accredited body. The accreditation body then sends an inspector who carries out the exercise taking into account the following:-
1.      The surrounding of the farm .For example if the location is near a quarry or a factory, this can cause rejection due to dust and fumes emitted which cause contamination of the produce.
2.      Inside the farm the inspector checks
v     The Soil: The soil is checked for heavy metals like lead, mercury etc.
v     Source of water: The water must be fresh and of good quality, from a well, river, rain etc. The water is tested for heavy metals, macrobiotic matter, pesticides, etc.
3.      The inspector interviews the owner, manager or the workers who are expected to be aware of the organic laws. The owner should not own another enterprise producing a similar crop under conventional agriculture.
4.      Seed and seed treatments must be organic and if unavailable conventional seeds can be used. The seed must however not be GMO or chemically treated.
5.      Seedlings if grown under organic conditions are allowed to be used in production.
6.      Fertilizer and plant protection scheme. The following are recommended to be in use

v     Inputs from organic production
v     Natural or naturally derived substances
v     Low solubility mineral fertilizers

7.      Documentation system: Good record keeping is a requirement for certification
8.      Map of the farm: There must be a map indicating the location in case the inspector wants to visit the enterprise without notice.
9.      The storage facility: In case the storage is away from the farm, the facility should also be inspected
10.  Packaging and labeling of the produce: the containers must be well sealed to avoid contamination.

If the inspector is satisfied with all the above conditions, he/she presents the findings to the registration committee for approval. If the committee approves the enterprise, the owner is issued with an international number and later organic farming certificate is issued. The certificate is thereafter required to be renewed annually.For more information read http://www.organicfarmermagazine.org/