The equivalence agreement between US and Canada for the first time started to work for Ukrainian organic exporters

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In 2021, the agricultural company Pole made the first deliveries of organic millet to the US market.

It’s worth noting two important aspects of this milestone. First, the export was made according to Canadian Organic Production Standards (COR), which are equivalent to US NOP standards. Second, The USA is one of the largest producers of organic millet and a net exporter of this product, so millet imports to the United States are an important precedent.

The agricultural company Pole already made several deliveries in 2021, the first 95 tons of organic millet were shipped in May-June this year and another 220 tons were shipped in November. Delivery was made by a sea vessel from Ukraine to the US.

The company started its operations in 1999, and in 2010, for the first time, passed organic certification in accordance with standards equivalent to EU standards. Currently, Agricultural Company Pole exports about 3,000 tons of organic millet and thousands of tons of other grains, legumes, oilseeds and fodder crops annually.

“We started marketing activities in North America in 2016. We participated in the BioFach USA exhibition and had been thinking about NOP certification since then. But eventually, at the request of our partners, we passed the certification in accordance with COR standards last year, – says Andrew Yelsukov, commercial director of LLC Pole.

It is also worth noting that last year and this year there was a crop failure of organic millet in the United States, due to a significant drought in Colorado, where large areas are occupied by this grain. It also contributed to our exports to the United States, but the participation of the importer in this process is very important because the export process is somewhat different from exports to the EU – more inspections, longer transportation process and so on.

Currently, there are about 15 bilateral agreements in the world that fully or partially recognize the standards and, accordingly, allow the circulation of organic products.

Some countries also allow the unilateral import of products in order to have them on the domestic market or to use for processing.

For example, products made in the EU can be freely exported to the United States and vice versa. And the EU allows the import of crop products from India, New Zealand and some other countries.

In 2009, an equivalence agreement between the United States and Canada came into force, but only this year, Ukrainian producers were able to use it for the first time.

A prerequisite for exporting products under an equivalent agreement is the phrase in the relevant operator’s certificate: “Certified in compliance with the terms of the U.S.-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement”, – says Olga Lysetska, Quality Assurance Manager of the certification body Organic Standard.

An overview of the equivalence of organic production standards in the world can be found in the relevant table (translated into Ukrainian as of December 20, 2020, or in English on the IFOAM – Organics International website in real-time).

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