The Horticultural Products Group of FAO's Commodity and trade Division is grateful to the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and to the I-GO programme of International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) for its financial support to the participation of some experts from developing countries.
Furthermore, we would like to thank Nuremberg Messe, the BioFach and IFOAM for their co-operation in the organization of this meeting.
The organizers would like to thank all the participants for the time and the enthusiasm they dedicated to the meeting.
The Third Expert Meeting on Socially and Environmentally Responsible Horticulture Production and Trade was held in Nuremberg, 16 February 2003. Various representatives of standard setting and certification bodies, as well as producers and traders of fresh produce presented their experiences and opinion on the theme of the meeting: "Building partnerships for socially and environmentally responsible horticultural trade". In the afternoon discussions were held in three groups.
The debate on "building partnerships" concentrated on the responsibilities of the actors in the supply chain and the need for transparency. It was felt that small farmers should organize to increase their marketing and bargaining powers and to be able to create partnerships with market operators on a more equal level. Both the costs and the value addition associated with social and environmental improvements should be distributed in a fair way among the parties.
The debate on responsible pricing concentrated on the transparency of price building along the supply chain, especially on the part of the retailers. Such transparency would facilitate negotiations of fair prices. The group saw no evidence that price guarantees to cover the cost of production would stimulate overproduction, as low prices have often triggered increased output.
The debate on the role of certification in partnerships concentrated on the role of certification bodies beyond verification. It was recommended that the certification bodies organize open training sessions and provide more information on buyer and consumer requirements. Certification bodies could help to evaluate the certification systems by sharing their experiences in standard implementation with accreditation agencies, producers and consumers.