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The GLOBALG.A.P. Tour stops off at Tucumán

The GLOBALG.A.P. Tour stops off at Tucumán

 

After 6 years, the certifier returns to Argentina to complete its 2019 Tour.

The province of Tucumán is the smallest in Argentina, but ranks 9th in terms of wealth generation, thanks to its excellent exportable offer, which is highly diversified, with 170 products exported to 160 countries. This is why Tucumán was chosen as the venue for the most recent edition of the GLOBALG.A.P. Tour. The first day featured conferences relating to various topics concerning production management and quality certification. The second day included field visits to companies such as Citrusvil and Tierra de Arándanos. The tour event focused on the economic benefits of good agricultural practices and introduced the latest GLOBALG.A.P. solutions, such as GLOBALG.A.P. add-ons, the Farm Assurer Program, the localg.a.p. program, GLOBALG.A.P. Livestock certification, the GLOBALG.A.P. traceability system, and the GLOBALG.A.P. FSMA PSR add-on to address the implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Good Agricultural Practices certification
is synonymous with competitiveness

In Argentina today, there are 608 companies with GLOBALG.A.P certification, and this figure is increasing. This is why the certifier partnered with the Tucumán Productive Development Institute (IDEP) to promote the products, services and benefits offered by both organisations. IDEP executive director, Dirk Trotteyn, said: “Our companies that adopt high production standards not only address aspects of food safety, but also respect and care for environmental resources, as well as the well-being of their workers.”

Vice-president of GLOBALG.A.P., Flavio Alzueta, stressed the importance of companies and producers addressing international market trends to meet a food demand that is increasingly aligned with quality and sustainability. “GLOBALG.A.P. is a platform that opens doors to compete in the main markets. Having this certification makes us more competitive. Argentina has great proactive professionals who do things well and conscientiously. There is room to grow our exports. At the same time, we must close the gap at the local level, where only 13% of fruits and vegetables are sold in the formal channel, with the rest sold informally,” said Alzueta.

IDEP launches
the “Tucumán Brand” Quality Seal

The GLOBALG.A.P. Tour was the ideal framework within which to launch the “Tucumán Brand” Quality Seal. Although the territory brand was created over 10 years ago, this latest launch offers new horizons to explore its full potential. The seal is a powerful tool that stimulates continuous improvement while also promoting values ​​linked to the sustainability of organisations. IDEP has been the main driver in building the Quality Seal and promoting its continuous improvement. It targets companies linked to primary production, the industrial sector, services, and public administration. There are currently more than 550 Argentine companies that are licensees of this hallmark.

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Nature’s Pride successfully undertake responsible water project 

Nature’s Pride continues to expand

 

Dutch fruit and vegetable specialist Nature’s Pride has undertaken a successful water-saving project in Peru and Chile. The initiative is part of a piloting of GlobalG.A.P.’s water add-on audit, SPRING, and highlights the company’s commitment to responsible water use. In order to obtain SPRING certification, it is necessary to demonstrate legality of water sources, best practices and continuous improvement in on-farm water management, as it has at six of its producer partners in the South American countries.

Nature’s Pride’s chief commercial officer, Adriëlle Dinkier, said. “It’s in our nature to put people and the environment at the heart of our operations. Water is one of the most precious natural resources and we need to protect it for future generations. We will roll out SPRING to other growers and will continue to engage with key stakeholders in our value chain to promote responsible water use in our sector together.”

 

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7 years of Integrity Program at GLOBALG.A.P.

n the last 15 years, GLOBALG.A.P. has grown into an international farm assurance standard with more than 135.000 certified producers. The exponential growth also means exponentially increased responsibility and complexity.  Recognizing the increased risks, in 2007 the GLOBALG.A.P. Board decided to create an integrity program.
“In the beginning we had only one standard (Integrated Farm Assurance – IFA) and mainly European Certification Bodies. Now we have more than 10 standards, almost 140 Certification Bodies, and certified producers in more than 100 countries,” explains Andras Fekete, Director of Compliance. 
The objective is to guarantee that each certified grower complies to the same level with the standard, regardless of the country of certification or the auditing body. The program includes a team of 8 auditors, also called “CIPRO” assessors (Certification Integrity Program Auditors), who are very experienced with the GLOBALGAP standards. 
“Our two main activities consist of assessing the offices of the Certification Bodies (where we are only checking operational records and auditor qualification) and re-auditing recently certified farms on-site,” details Andras. The integrity assessment (re-audit) result is then compared with the report issued by the Certification Body. The report of the integrity assessment is evaluated by the secretariat of GLOBALGAP. “If the result is not satisfactory, it is presented to the Integrity Surveillance Committee,” confirms Andras. The committee decides of possible sanctions at different levels: first warning, second warning, yellow card, red card. The most severe sanction would be the cancellation of the contract with the Certification Body and sending the information to the local Accreditation Body. The yellow card, red card and the cancellations are publicly displayed on the GLOBALG.A.P. website.

More than 1630 assessment days made completed until todayso far
‘’We started the integrity assessment program in 2008. Every year we complete between 250 and 320 assessment days. Since 2008, we have completed 1630 assessment days! In some years we spent almost a quarter of our total budget on integrity assessments and integrity related activities,” says Andras. Each Certification Body is visited at least once every 2 years, with both an office and some producer re-assessments conducted. The assessor team is able to conduct the assessments in 11 languages (English, Spanish, German, French, Greek, Portuguese, Italian, Bulgarian, Russian, Hungarian, Chinese), for other countries, translators are used.
“Our objective is to encourage improvements rather than focusing on sanctioning the Certification Bodies, who are also seen as our most valued business partners.” In several cases however, the Integrity Surveillance Committee has had to issue sanctions. Up until now, a total of 41 First Warnings, 14 Second Warnings and 23 Yellow Cards have been issued. Additionally, 14 CBs have cancelled or voluntarily withdrawn from GLOBALG.A.P.  Experience has shown the average performance of the Certification Bodies has improved significantly. “But, unfortunately we cannot stop here.” The GLOBALG.A.P. landscape is ever-changing and continuously growing, expanding to new countries, approving new Certification Bodies, adding new versions to the existing standards and developing new standards, et cetera.

Why an integrity program in parallel with accreditation? 
“The truth is that our integrity program complements the work of the Accreditation Bodies,” clarifies Andras. “Our system is still based on ISO 17065 (previously ISO 65) accreditation and GLOBALG.A.P. strongly supports that concept.” The integrity program checks the GLOBALG.A.P. specific implementation issues but not the compliance of the Certification Body with ISO 17065 requirements.
“But, this is not all. In conjunction with the evaluation of the Certification Bodies, the integrity program is running several other activities: complaint management, false claim investigation, GLOBALG.A.P. brand misuse investigation, exceeded residue level investigation, and many workshops for Certification Bodies, producers, and consultants.”