SOUTH KOREA/DENMARK - Korea and Denmark have joined forces to promote organic foods.
The National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service of Korea (NAQS) Director General Kim Dae-geun and Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in organic food systems and technologyat the beginning of the month.
Denmark has a strong organic production (with seven per cent of it agricultural area and an eight per cent share of the total food market.
Denmark also has well-established policies for production, consumption and distribution, which Korea said are worth benchmarking to achieve a vibrant organic food industry.
The Korean authorities said that Denmark is pursuing state-driven nurturing policies including ‘organic food certification for school lunch,’ ‘an organic R&D centre for technology penetration,’ and ‘a subsidy for transferring businesses to organic businesses.’
These policies are geared towards expanding cultivating areas of organic produce up to 12per cent by 2020. Korea’s organic production stands at just one per cent.
This MOU was first discussed when the Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark visited Korea last November. After five months of working-level discussions, both parties finally reached an agreement.
The agreement includes sharing knowledge, information and experience on regulations related to organic food certification in both countries, certification standards, guidelines, certification implementation by supervisory organisations, certification organisations and certificate business entities as well as study visits, expert meetings, seminars or workshops.
Based on the MOU, NAQS and the DVFA will run continuous cooperative programmes in order to exchange information on organic food systems of both nations and their market trend as well as to nurture experts.
Through the MOU, NAQS in Korea plans to establish relevant policies including a 4th Term Five-Year Plan for Environmentally Friendly Agriculture by analysing best practices from Denmark and other European countries on a regular basis.
By benchmarking cases in Danish, in particular, NAQS said it plans to review items including: certification of eco-friendly ingredient labelling for school lunches and hospital meals in order to encourage consumption of eco-friendly and organic foods.
It will also review the certification of organic foods for pets and strengthened standards for eco-friendly animal welfare.
It is also expected that the information that is collected by this agreement, including industry trends of organic foods in Europe, consumption trends and importing requirements will be provided to the industry.
This will help to resolve difficulties over exports including the lack of overseas market information and regulatory information of countries to which organic products are exported.
According to NAQS’ research, conducted among 569 organic food producers in Korea, they felt it was difficult to export their products because of a lack of overseas market information and a lack of understanding of their foods on the part of importing countries.
A Mutual Recognition Agreement of Korea-EU organic processed foods took effect on 1 February and this enables Korean exporters to export their products to Europe with only domestic certifications.
The new MOU will contribute to the expansion of exports of organic processed foods.
NAQS said that the agency would continue to encourage the organic food industry through advanced systems and export supporting policies.
The spokesman added that the agency will particularly strengthen its cooperation with the industry and experts in order to overcome any difficulties in the market.
TheMeatSite News Desk