We live in a period when ecological agriculture at the global level is actively developing and the demand for organic products is steadily growing. The term “ecological agriculture” is protected and farmers can produce and sell eco (organic, bio) products only if they have a special certificate. Eco certification includes the implementation of a variety of environmental practices, quality standards, and standards related health and food safety.
For the Republic of Moldova, ecological agri-food products are a real chance to be competitive on international markets, as demand for eco products is growing. Our country has a law adopted in accordance with international requirements, and there is a number of local producers who comply with it and have the title of an ecological producer. However most eco products made in Moldova are exported and may not reach the domestic consumer.
The main stages for obtaining eco certification
To begin this process, the farmer must be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this system, have knowledge of organic agriculture, develop a medium-term and long-term action plan and be aware of national and European legislation in this area.
Initially, the producer must submit a request to the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development. Then, having the application approved by the Ministry, he goes to the inspection and certification body. The producer must submit to the ministry documents confirming that he/ she owns land for ecological production, is registered as an enterprise, has created a business plan for the company that will meet the environmental criteria of production. Within one month, the inspection and certification body will visit the producer to check his lands. Then the company signs the contract with the inspection and certification body and starts the conversion period.
The conversion period begins when the producer has signed an agreement with the local inspection and certification body and is 3 years for perennial crops and plantations and 2 years for annual crops. The goal of the conversion is to achieve a balanced and sustainable agroecosystem.
After the conversion period, the farmer receives a certificate confirming that his products are environmentally friendly.
Certification bodies in the Republic of Moldova
Currently, there are three bodies for inspection and certification of ecological agri-food products, which can be addressed by domestic producers:
1. SC Certificat Eco SRL (accredited for plant products and for processed agricultural food products);
2. SC Bio Cert Traditional SRL (accredited for plant products);
3. SC Control Union Dnjestr SRL (accredited for plant products and for processed agricultural food products).
These institutions play the role of monitoring and verification during the conversion period, they verify if the farmer meets the environmental criteria, and if any inconsistencies are found, the producer is given a certain period for eliminating them. In 2019, these three bodies certified 92 Moldovan producers of eco products.
There are also international organizations that can certify eco producers in Moldova. Typically, these bodies certify large companies that export significant volumes of their products. They are recognized by the European Commission, but not yet recognized by our ministry. Measures are currently being taken to adjust the legal framework and solve this problem.
Eco-friendly products made in Moldova are sold under the label "Agricultura Ecologică-Republica Moldova". The symbol of this brand is a leaf on a white background, which shades vary from light to darker. Inside the leaf, the word "Eco" is written in green.