The control and certification of organic agriculture in Greece


Organic production started getting the appropriate attention in our country around 1992 and flourished since 1995 when the implementation of European Scientific Journal July 2014 edition vol.10, No.20 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431 75 the financial assistance program was initiated under Regulation 2078/1992 and subsequent of Regulation 1257/1999 (Papatheodorou et al, 2007).

Organic production in Greece is tested and certified by private bodies approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, to test and certify organic products under Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and the Regulation No 889/2008. Moreover entities get the appropriate accreditation by the National Accreditation System (E.SY.D.) according to ELOT EN 45011:1998 "General requirements for certification bodies operating product certification systems" (Georgopoulos, 2012) and are supervised by the Greek Agricultural Organization “DEMETRA”. 

Authorised Inspection and Certification entities regarding Organic Products in Greece are so far as follows:
• DEO with approval code: GR-BIO-01. 
• PHYSIOLOGIKI ΕΠΕ, with approval code: GR-BIO-02. 
• BIOHELLAS, with approval code: GR-BIO-03. 
• ROUTES OF QUALITY Α.Ε.–QWAYS, with approval code: GRBIO-04. 
• A CERT A.E., with approval code: GR-BIO-05. 
• IRIS Ε.Ε., with approval code: GR-BIO-06. 
• GREEN CONTROL Ο.Ε., with approval code: GRBIO-07. 
• GEOTECNHICAL LAB Α.Ε., with approval code: GR-BIO-08. 
• GMCERT Ο.Ε., with approval code: GR-BIO-10. 
• Q-CERT ΕΠΕ , with approval code: GR-BIO-12. 
• TUV HELLAS A.E., with approval code: GR-BIO-13. 
• OXYGENE Cert Ο.Ε, with approval code: GR-BIO-14 (www.minagric.gr) 
• EUROCERT, with approval code: GR-BIO-17 
• COSMOCERT, with approval code: GR-BIO-18 

All these entities have control jurisdiction throughout the country, giving farmers the chance of selection. According to the regulation each Inspection and Certification Organization should make an annual site inspection in each unit integrating organic farming. Additional inspections are made depending on the type of crop, for example in vegetables there are successive crops. Sampling is performed at a rate of 5% of the approved quantities for further laboratory testing and unannounced inspection visits are carried out in addition to full control at more than 10% of the integrated units of each Inspection and Certification Organization. The inspection system does not include any economic factors. In general, prices of organic products are increased about 25-30% compared to those of conventional products. In Greece the control and conversion period starts by signing the corresponding contract with the testing and certifying body. Notice of entry to the competent department of Rural Development follows. Afterwards the field is inspected in terms fertility, ways of maintaining and increasing it, as well as storage facilities and how crops will be organically protected from pests and diseases (Tseles et al, 2011).

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