Golden LEAF grant funds farmers’ certifications
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recently announced the Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded a $60,000 grant to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to fund the GLOBAL Good Agricultural Practices certification process for eligible farmers.
GLOBALGAP certification, formerly know as EUREGAP certification, is the standard used to determine if a supplier is qualified to sell to most major European grocery chains. The certification is also used as a base for other export certifications around the world.
“The grant will benefit North Carolina growers who are interested in extending their sales to international markets. Long term, we expect to see a boost in exports of N.C. agricultural products,” Troxler said. “I hope that farmers will apply early to take advantage of this one-time opportunity for free certification.”
The 2008 crop-year award is for produce crops. The number of paid certifications is limited. NCDA&CS will begin collecting applications immediately, with a Feb. 29 deadline. Participants will be selected based on a number of factors, including export potential.
“Golden LEAF is pleased to help North Carolina farmers become more competitive in today’s global marketplace,” said Valeria Lee, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. “Providing opportunity for growth is paramount to the success of a competitive agriculture community.”
GLOBALGAP is a different process than the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Good Agricultural Practices certification, meaning USDA GAP-certified farmers are not automatically GLOBALGAP-certified.
The goal of the GLOBALGAP certification project is to provide a competitive edge to North Carolina produce exporters in Europe and other international markets. GLOBALGAP is a certification adopted by a group of European retailers.
Farmers interested in exporting should contact the NCDA&CS to initiate the pre-certification process. A GLOBALGAP auditor will conduct an unofficial audit of the candidate’s operations. The feedback from the audit will help the candidate know what is specifically needed to become GLOBALGAP-certified. All information will remain confidential between the farmer and auditor.
For more information, call Peter Thornton, NCDA&CS assistant director for international marketing, at (919) 733-7912.