EurepGAP certification for small producers

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

    Abstract

    The majority of agriculture practitioners worldwide are smallholders. Compliance with market related standards, such as set by EurepGAP, is crucial for obtaining and maintaining international market access, particularly to the European Union. Private standards must allow for innovative and cost efficient certification systems to avoid that small growers get marginalized from national and international economy, especially in developing countries. For farmer group certification under EurepGAP standards, lessons can be learned from the ample experience with small holders groups certification regarding social (e.g. fair trade) and environmental (e.g. organic / IFOAM) standards. Cases studies reflect that elements determining the viability and sustainability of group certification include the social cohesion of the group, professional capacity. Market related factors, important for smallholders’ access even if compliance with standards is not an issue, determine successful participation in international market chains including minimal economy of scale to decrease costs, minimal internal coordination to guarantee compliance with transactions and even quality, as well as international communication, marketing and general business skills. One of the problems identified with private standards certification is that the benefits of certification are too uncertain or intangible when compared with the immediate and real financial costs. Moreover, EurepGAP certification is a B2B certification for main stream markets, not addressing specific niche market which would give added value to suppliers. EurepGAP certification for small growers is not limited to option 2 only. Importers and retailers ascribe more commercial risks of non compliance to option 2, tending to prefer working with option 1 suppliers. Small holders can be certified under option 1 by participating in outgrowers’ schemes. The producer cedes all autonomy over the production process, contributing with land as only input in a leasing scheme, and providing the necessary labour. Outgrowers’ schemes tend to be more efficient commercially, as no investments on group cohesion and decision making processes are required. Professional capacity tends to be more easily available, administrative systems easier to set up and operate. From a social viewpoint however, market access does not change power balances in the supply chain nor the distribution of added value, while opportunities for learning lest to fully participate in the international economy are less.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of Publication[S.l.]
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Keywords

    • marketing
    • agricultural production
    • retail marketing
    • private farms
    • small farms
    • farm management
    • certification
    • european union
    • world

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