An official delegation of the National Organic Program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-NOP) met with representatives of the National Chamber of Organic Producers and Exporters (Canapro) to learn about the experiences of national producers in this market.

Workers of the agriculture sector

The NOP is the federal regulatory framework that governs trade in this type of food in the US. It is also the name of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Program of that country that has the responsibility of administering and enforcing legislation in this field.

The US has one of the most important markets in the world in the production and consumption of organic products with sales that in 2017 amounted to US$ 50 billion.

For its part, the Chamber, which represents a broad spectrum of this type of national producers, brings together members such as farmers, processors, industrialists, exporters, importers of inputs and trading companies. This organization was created 9 years ago (2010) with the support of the Organic Market Support Program (Proamo) and the support of coffee growers, pineapples and cocoa farmers, among other sectors.

According to Lorena Carballo, executive director of Canapro, the meeting with the NOP envoys had the goal of “exchanging experiences in the field of certification and organic production in order to improve work processes and guidelines for certification, so, that continuous improvement in organic production systems be achieved”.

“We must consider that the United States is one of the most important markets for us; so, these meetings are essential to achieve proper coordination with our main business partner”, said Jorge Sánchez, president of Canapro.

Ronald Segura, a member of the Chamber, said: “I am pleased with the visit and interest of USDA-NOP in the Costa Rican organic sector”. “From Canapro we work together to promote organic production systems; we will be attentive to the feedback we receive from the US Federal Agency after the meeting”, added Segura.

Organic products processing factory

In addition to meeting with Canapro, the US Federal Government group arrived in Costa Rica because the AMS commissioned the international organization IOAS -which is part of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)- to carry out studies in various countries for 12 months from March 1st, 2019.

The research will focus on the production and international trade of selected organic products in order to improve and “understand the different organic production systems, their supply chains, and the support systems, conformity assessment and supervision in force”.

These studies will be carried out through collection and review of desktop data and on-site work, through remote and personal interviews, visits to production, handling and shipping sites along with appointments with certification bodies and public authorities.

The data from the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer, 2017) indicates that 44% of the total value of the Costa Rican exports in that year was directed at the US market for a value of US$ 4,666.9 million.

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