Boost to organic foods

Spain: The sector demands inclusion of organic products in public contracts

The demand for organic products in public contracts is considered very important by the eco-agricultural sector, especially because similar initiatives in other countries have entailed "a boost" to organic foods and, consequently, an environmental improvement.

Representatives of Ecovalia, Intereco, SEAE and the Vida Sana Association have praised the future creation of an Interministerial Commission that will elaborate the Plan to include organic criteria in public contracts, although they remain cautious until more details are revealed.

This Commission, to be run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (Mapama), will be constituted in approximately one month (end of February) and the entry into force of the Public Sector Contracts Law will happen in early March.

The sector trusts that bio foods will be given priority in public centres
For the president of Ecovalia, Álvaro Barrera, this measure "should give a boost to the consumption of organic products," so such initiatives are beneficial "for the health of people and the environment."

In the same line, the president of Intereco, David Samper, is happy about ecological criteria being taken into account in public contracts, but in his opinion, it remains to be seen "whether the purchase of bio foods will be prioritised and how public contracts will be articulated."

Public contracting with organic criteria would give a boost to bio foods
Before giving his opinion, Samper is still waiting to find out about the Plan's details, and although "such measures could be beneficial for the sector, it is still essential to know how they are going to be implemented."

The technical director of the Spanish Society of Ecological Agriculture (SEAE), Víctor Gonzálvez, has shown his "happiness" about the creation of this Commission, because "we have often suggested its inclusion in the Ecological Production Strategy of the Mapama."

"We hope it serves to highlight the importance of organic production and food, not only for agriculture and the environment, but also for human health," he said, confident that the purchase of bio products will be prioritised, as in other countries, because "it will give a boost to the sector."

The sector demands its participation as "experts"
The secretary of the Healthy Life Association, Montse Escutia, recalled that this has been a "long-standing demand" from the sector, because "it should help give it a huge boost, as has already happened in Italy," although she agrees that "it remains to be seen whether there will be a commitment to eco and proximity food in the long run and how this will be defined in the specifications."

As stated in the Royal Decree on the constitution of the Interministerial Commission, Escutia expects the presence of "experts in their meetings, where they will be incorporated with voice, but without vote, thus making it possible for the organic sector to be consulted."

The draft of the Organic Production Strategy for 2017-2020 foresees increasing the presence of bio products in the collective catering of the General State Administration (AGE) and in the public purchase of food.

Mapama representatives will participate in the meetings of "EU Green Public Procurement Criteria for Food and Catering Services" in order to study the inclusion of organic food in the criteria for the supply to collective catering.


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