South Africa  Country Profiles for Organic Agriculture

Legal and Institutional Framework

Legislation relating to organic agriculture
Government policy for organic agriculture
Inspection and certification of organic products marketed domestically
Inspection and certification of organic export products
Domestic market of organic products
Research, training and extension for organic agriculture
Awareness of organic agriculture
Profile Status


Legislation relating to organic agriculture

The third draft of the regulations for organically produced products is being amended from comments received from roleplayers. This draft will, when finalised, be distributed early in 2006 for final comments and at the same time WTO notification will be given to enable other countries to comment on the draft.

The definition of “organic” given in the latest draft regulations for organically produced products is: “produced by the specific management practices indicated in these standards, which take care of the environment and soil. [...] No synthetic chemicals (including pesticides and fertilisers) are [...] permitted other than those allowed”.


Sources:

Minou Yussefi and Helga Willer (e.) 2000. The World of Organic Agriculture - Statistics and Future Prospects (available at http://www.soel.de/inhalte/publikationen/s/s_74_05.pdf).

Rundgren G., Lustig P. (GROLINK), 2002. Feasibility study for the establishment of certification bodies for organic agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa), (available at http://www.grolink.se/Resources/studies/719%20Afrocert%20Rapport%20Final.PDF).
Erasmus, N., Department of Agriculture of South Africa, 2005. Personal communication.


Date: 14 Dec 2005



Government policy for organic agriculture

The Government of South Africa is in the process of finalizing organic agriculture regulations.
The legislation process is driven by the National Department of Agriculture, which is at present collecting and incorporating comments from the different role players. This participative process will lead to finalizing the regulation, aiming to:
- set the minimum standards for organically produced goods, while private certification bodies will inspect and certify the producers;
- audit and supervise the certification bodies;
- discipline the misuse of the term “organic”, which is used at the moment even by individuals not adhering to organic agriculture principles, thus misleading the consumer and damaging the market.
Organically produced products will have to comply with all the other legislation applicable to conventional produce, such as quality standards, health and hygiene aspects, etc.


Sources:

Erasmus, N., Department of Agriculture of South Africa, 2005. Personal communication.


Date: 15 Nov 2005



Inspection and certification of organic products marketed domestically

There are eight different certification bodies active in South Africa. Two local certification bodies that were started in 2001 include:
Africa’s Farms Certified Organic (AFRISCO), which was set up through private investment, and is a limited company with trained inspectors. AFRISCO is in the process of getting ISO65 accreditation, which is being done through a grant of the Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) to ECOCERT SA, a recognized international inspection and certification body accredited to verify the conformity of organic products against the organic regulations of Europe, Japan and the United States. This will allow AFRISCO to certify for export, probably in a joint venture with ECOCERT. AFRISCO is also a member of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), although it has not yet being accredited by IFOAM.
- The Biodynamic and Organic Certification Authority (BDOCA) was set up by the Biodynamic Agriculture Association of South Africa, mainly to certify organic farmers (to the draft national standards), and also to provide biodynamic certification. It has managed to keep costs down and has been very successful helping operators sell to South African consumers.
Both bodies certify for the domestic market according to the New Draft Regulations on Organic Production (October 2001). There is, therefore, no legal requirement for produce sold as organic to be certified in South Africa. However, as the two supermarkets that sell organic produce, Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay, only accept certified produce, in practice most – if not all – produce labelled as organic is likely to be organic. Many other chains and stores sell organic food, but mostly do not question the “organic” label.

Sources:
AFRISCO (Africa’s Farms Certified Organic), (available at http://www.afrisco.net/Html/Home_page.htm).

Rundgren G., Lustig P. (GROLINK), 2002. Feasibility study for the establishment of certification bodies for organic agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa), (available at http://www.grolink.se/Resources/studies/719%20Afrocert%20Rapport%20Final.PDF).


Date: 15 Nov 2005



Inspection and certification of organic export products

All certification needed for the export of organic goods is carried out by foreign certification organizations, some of which, i. e. EcoCert, have a South African office. Africa’s Farms Certified Organic (AFRISCO), the local certification body, certifies for the export of organic goods via ECOCERT International.
BCS Öko-Garantie GmbH
BIO-GRO (New Zealand)
EcoCert International
OFF (The Organic Food Federation)
SGS - Swiss Société Générale de Surveillance
SKAL International (The Netherlands)
Soil Association (United Kingdom)

Sources:

AFRISCO (Africa’s Farms Certified Organic), (available at http://www.grolink.se/Resources/studies/719%20Afrocert%20Rapport%20Final.PDF).

Rundgren G., Lustig P. (GROLINK), 2002. Feasibility study for the establishment of certification bodies for organic agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa ), AFRISCO (Africa’s Farms Certified Organic), (available at http://www.grolink.se/Resources/studies/719%20Afrocert%20Rapport%20Final.PDF).
The Organic Standard, 2005. The Organic Certification Directory; Issue 52, August 2005

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), 2005. Organic Agriculture Worldwide


Date: 15 Nov 2005



Domestic market of organic products

South Africa has a growing organic market with products being sold in several specialized stores and supermarket chains. Major supermarket chains such as Woolworths and Pick 'n Pay now offer a limited range of organic produce. Organic food can also be purchased at health food stores and at craft markets such as the Michael Mount Organic Market in Bryanston, Johannesburg. Wensleydale Organic Farm outside Johannesburg offers an organic fruit and vegetable delivery service direct to the public. Some other large supermarket chains, Hyperama and Shoprite Checkers for instance, are planning to introduce an extensive organic product range
Because there are no implemented national standards on organic agriculture, labelling of products is not controlled.
Regarding the price policies, domestic sales do not benefit from price premiums at the moment; so many farmers want to move quickly to exports. Production includes cereals, fruit and vegetables, herbs, teas and wines. Some companies already export to the European Union, and several others are starting to export.

Sources:

Minou Yussefi and Helga Willer (Eds.) 2000. The World of Organic Agriculture - Statistics and Future Prospects (available at http://www.soel.de/inhalte/publikationen/s/s_74_05.pdf).


Date: 15 Nov 2005



Research, training and extension for organic agriculture

There are some associations, NGOs, and organizations promoting the organic agriculture in South Africa. One of the most active is the Organic Agricultural Association of South Africa (OSA). OSA is a non-profit organization formed in 1994 that interfaces with farmers, retailers and Government to further the aims and objectives of the organic movement to the benefit of producers, processors, consumers and our environment. It is a founder member of the International Federation of Organic agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA), a network founded under the sponsorship of the Government of Germany, the Food and Agriculture Development Centre (ZEL) of the German Foundation for International Development (DSE), in cooperation with the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture. NECOFA aims at acting as a forum to support all national and international activities supporting ecologically and sociologically sustainable land use management in Africa.
The Centre for Low Input Agricultural Research and Development (CLIARD) is an NGO which aims to develop the organizational and individual capacity of rural people around sustainable farming methods, research on specific crops and problem solving with farmers. CLIARD also trains agricultural extension officers, agricultural assistants and farmers. It operates in northern Natal.
There are also private corporations, producing agricultural supplies, which are organizing seminars and training courses on organics, e.g. Affmech Close Corporation (compost and vermicompost production), which was founded in 1996 in order to provide a vehicle for delivering cost-reduction technology to agriculture. Extensive research into various areas has resulted in a focus on minimizing inputs whilst at the same time maximizing outputs across a wide range of agricultural applications. The organization provides consultative and educational assistance to organizations and individuals, organizing seminars and appearances at trade events.

Sources:
OSA (Organic Agricultural Association of South Africa), (available at http://www.oaasa.co.za), August, 2005;

Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA), (available at http://www.necofa.org);

Affmech Close Corporation (available at http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/eworms/) (available at ), October, 2004;


Date: 15 Nov 2005



Awareness of organic agriculture

The Organic Agricultural Association of South Africa (OSA) provides information on shows, talks, open days or farm days and conferences concerning organic producers, processors and retailers which is gathered and made available to members.

Sources:

OSA (Organic Agricultural Association of South Africa), (available at http://www.oaasa.co.za), August, 2005.


Date: 15 Nov 2005



Profile Status

This is a provisional document pending government confirmation.


Date: 15 Nov 2005