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Friday, April 20, 2007

NEW PROPOSED USDA ORGANIC REGULATIONS COULD DRIVE THOUSANDS OF SMALL ORGANIC FARMERS OUT OF BUSINESS

A controversial new directive from the USDA threatens to deny organic certification to thousands of small organic coffee, tea, banana, rice, sugar cane, cacao and other farmers around the world. The USDA's directive would eliminate the longstanding practice of certifying organic and Fair Trade family farm cooperatives as a group, rather than forcing each coop member to pay for individual certification. Thousands of organic and Fair Trade farming cooperatives around the world have been established over the past few decades to help low-income farmers in financing and marketing, and in acquiring otherwise cost-prohibitive certification for their farms. Most of the world's small-scale organic coffee farmers take part in these cooperatives, so eliminating group certification, will drive thousands of family farmers out of business while giving large-scale commercial coffee plantations a competitive advantage. Though the OCA supports careful monitoring of all organic farms, we are adamantly opposed to the elimination of group certification for low-income farm cooperatives.

posted by Alix @ 11:31 AM

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