USDA terminates equivalence recognition of Indian organic control system

The USDA recently announced that they will end the organic recognition agreement with India, a scheme that had been in place since 2006. In the future Indian organic operators will have to apply for direct certification by USDA-accredited certifiers to the USDA organic standards. 

Current organic operators that are certified by Indian APEDA-accredited certifiers are granted a transition period. By mid March 2021, USDA-accredited certifiers will be able to list on the Organic Integrity Database the organic operators in India that are applying for USDA approval. By 12 July 2021, APEDA-accredited operators will have to apply for certification with a USDA-accredited certifier and by 12 July 2022 they will have to have completed the certification in order to continue exporting to the US. 

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will keep working in close contact with certifiers so to ensure a smooth transition, while communicating with APEDA for further enforcement needs. 

This development is part of an overall trend in the NOP to strengthen enforcement and oversight over the organic supply chain.

This change in law affects a high number of producers involved with organic production (India has 1.149.781 organic producers, according to the The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging trends 2020 published by FiBL) and with a US export market's value of $359 millions in 2019.

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The latest information and updates regarding the termination of the agreement can be found on the NOP webpage for India.