The process of transition from conventional to organic farming takes several years. It involves three parties - a producer , a controlling entity and a certifying authority. In the next few lines, you can learn about the steps involved in the transition process:
Step one: Choice of controlling authority and deadlines.
The farmer chooses a controlling authority. Then contact and exchange of information, including the price offer or offers, where the areas are located and what the farmer wants to do, etc.
When the agreement is reached, both parties conclude a contract, make a payment and the producer enters a transitional period. During this time, his production can not be sold as certified, but only as a conventional one.
The duration of the transition depends on the specific crop - for annual plants it is 2 years, for the perennial - 3 years before the first harvest. In the case of animals, the situation is the following: 12 months for equine animals and cattle for meat, 6 months for small ruminants and pigs, 6 months for milk producing animals, 10 weeks for poultry for meat production, 6 weeks for egg birds , 12 months for bee colonies.
During the transitional period inspections shall be carried out at least once a year. Samples may also be taken from the soil or plant material by agreement between the manufacturer and the inspection body. The aim is to track the flows of incoming and outgoing raw materials and outputs from the farm.
Step two: Control and certification are divided at this stage
Production control - whether plant or animal - is carried out by 10 individuals who are kept in a register at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Most of them are currently local. The law also allows foreign operators from a member state of the European Union or outside it, as well as countries that are parties to the European Economic Area, to control the process. In order to be able to perform their role, the authorities must have a contract with a laboratory.
People who do control do not deal with certification to have no influence.
At this stage an inspection report is being completed. It is prepared by an on-site inspector who checks the actual state of the farm and the records that are being kept. This is done to track the flows of incoming and outgoing raw materials and outputs from the farm.
Biological fields are separate from conventional with buffer zones, and appropriate marking is provided for production and storage in order to separate it from organic and conventional. The presence of separate rooms or parts of them with indications of plant protection products and organic production shall be checked.
The product flow is calculated and it is described - from harvesting to realized products. Where mismaches are detected, the inspector shall prescribe corrective actions and deadlines for their removal.
Step three: Issuing a certificate.
After inspection of the documentation and the actual state of the farm, including the premises, the storehouses and the fields, an inspection report is signed by both parties. At the same time, the certification manager prepares a motivated proposal to the relevant authority that deals with the issue.
The certificate shall contain the document number, the name and address of the operator, the name, address and control code number of the control authority, the type of production - plant, livestock or processing, the status of the certification - in transition period or biological and the standard for which refers to the received document. It has a period of validity that is precisely mentioned.
The price of the document is a trade secret, but it is certainly high. To have an economic interest in organic food, one grower must look at a garden of between 20 and 40 decares.
So far, there has been no case for a certificate to be withdrawn. Farmers have to do some "very scary" violations to get this measure. When there are inconsistencies, they are removed during the production process. They are given notes from the control authorities. An example - the organic label is not affixed to the organic product store.
What should be written on the biofood label?
The European organic farming logo is a must. Its dimensions should be greater than 9x13.5 mm. For smaller packagings, height reduction of up to 6 mm is allowed, with the height / width ratio (1: 1.5) being respected. Where the European logo is affixed to the label, the code number of the inspection authority and the place of production of the raw materials of which the product is composed must always be indicated. If any manipulation is done, such as repackaging of the product, it is imperative that the name of the controller be presented.
There may be national and private signs for organic production as well as the national organic logo of Bulgaria. It is a white ladybird on a green leaf.
In Bulgaria there is an interest in private standards, as the producers mainly trade abroad. At the same time, an example of a private standard is given for textiles, cosmetics or building materials.