Austrian fresh produce suppliers have apparently increased their competitiveness on the international market following the news that AmaGAP, a certification standard for fruit, vegetable and potato producers in the country, has become the first scheme of its kind to be re-benchmarked successfully against version five of GlobalGAP’s Integrated Farm Assurance Standard (IFA).
Benchmarking means that good agricultural practices outlined in a scheme’s requirements are considered as equivalent to regulations and criteria contained in the associated scheme.
Documents outlining AmaGAP’s new requirements will be published in a few months’ time and are expected to become obligatory in January 2017.
As international certification provider GlobalGAP explained in a statement, the Austrian standard only offers certification to individual producers – currently there are almost 2,000 certified – and was previously benchmarked against IFA Version 4.
IFA Version 5 came into force on 1 July 2015 and will be mandatory from the beginning of July this year.
“One of GlobalGAP’s main missions is the ‘one auditor through the farm gate’ principle, and benchmarking is how we aim to achieve it,” said a spokesperson for GlobalGAP.
“Harmonising the requirements of different schemes and standards cuts out duplication and takes the complexity out of certification. It reduces costs, administration, time and effort, with producers, suppliers and retailers all profiting from the benefits.”