Switzerland: Barriers for organic products from developing countries

The fast growing Swiss organic market is only open in a limited way for products from developing countries. Exotic products, which are not competitors of local products are allowed on the local organic market. Producers of other products experience problems.
Organic products are getting more and more known in Switzerland and the turnover increases all the time. Therefore it is not surprising that even foreign companies want to profit from this growth. Peru is an example of this. This country is an important exporter of organic products, such as organically grown coffee.

In order to be allowed to sell such products in developed countries various relevant conditions of the bio-labels have to be adhered to. Many Swiss look at the products from abroad as a nice supplement on the market. However, before manufacturers from abroad obtain the correct Bio-Suisse License, a number of obstacles has to be overcome by them. Extensive documentation is to be completed by the company from abroad. For agrarian products from abroad special Bio-Suisse guidelines apply. They are allowed to use the hallmark 'Knospe'. It should be noted, however, that this is only for products not grown in Switzerland, such as pineapple and avocado's.
Apparently the association Bio-Suisse consciously choose for a pragmatic handling. Exotic products not competing with local product are allowed entrance on the local organic market, but entrance for other products is very limited.
From an economic point of view a more extensive opening up of the market could be to the benefit of the producers in developing countries. Durable agriculture can especially in the rural areas assist in decreasing poverty and in the long term protect the environment.
Source: NZZ.ch

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