Supermarket chain Billa, part of the German-owned Rewe Group, is aiming to become one of the first retailers in Bulgaria to promote the adoption of GlobalGAP standards among fresh fruit and vegetable growers in the country.
Together with GlobalGAP, the company recently organised a training programme for Bulgarian producers and suppliers, focusing on the scheme's requirements and benefits as well as explaining how LocalGAP – a slimmed down version of the certification provider's integrated farm assurance standard – has been developed specifically for Billa to suit local conditions while meeting the retailer's specific requirements.
By promoting good agricultural practice in this way, Billa Bulgaria said it wanted to trace the entire production process for non-processed products including fresh produce, in order to ensure food safety, traceability, worker health and safety, animal welfare and protection of the environment.
One of the fastest growing supermarket chains in Europe, Billa opened its first supermarket in Bulgaria in 2000 and, since then, has expanded its network to 85 outlets in a total of 35 cities.
"By implementing the procedures and criteria required by GlobalGAP and LocalGAP, Billa Bulgaria expects to improve the quality of the farm products supplied to its retail outlets and raise consumer trust in its brand," said a spokesperson for GlobalGAP.