Colombia has strict food origin and labelling laws to ensure the freshness of both domestically produced and imported products. Foodstuffs with labels, particularly processed foods, must have the following information: name of the product, a list of the ingredients in decreased weight order, net content, drained weight in metric units, name and address of the processor, name and address of the importer, lot identification, expiration date, and instructions for usage, amongst others. In the case of organic or raw foodstuffs, such as fruits or vegetables, the labeling does not require as many specificities and details.
All of these legal regulations are enforced by national oversight agencies, namely the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MHSP), the National Institute for the Surveillance of Food and Medicines (INVIMA), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) through its Colombian Institute for Agriculture and Livestock (ICA).
Regulations and Organic Origins in Colombia
The Colombian Institute for Agriculture and Livestock (ICA) was created in 1962 and it works under the national Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The ICA has a national presence throughout Colombia in the way of field offices and research centers, including a research center in the department of Cordoba. Furthermore, the ICA is responsible for both promoting and certifying the promotion of major agricultural products throughout the country.
As it relates to Farmfolio’s Ganaderia Pietrasanta (GP), the ICA is the national Colombian agency that certifies the origin and organic nature of the products at the farm, including GP’s coconut nursery, which is a crucial first step in one of the farm’s main productive activities. Through the ICA, GP will soon become Colombia’s first and only certified coconut nursery. As such, GP is the origin of certified organic green coconut seeds that will be sourced throughout the region to other farms. Moreover, Farmfolio will be able to negotiate futures contracts with the farms that purchase coconut seeds from GP’s nursery and secure an increased supply for processing towards retail sales.
In the process of obtaining a certification of organic origin for commercialization, Farmfolio’s GP first made sure that the farm complies with national and international regulations. Afterwards, GP filed its application to become a certified organic coconut seed supplier with the ICA. Secondly, in order to finalize the origins certification for GP’s coconut nursery, the farm recently received an official site visit by the ICA in order to verify standards and best practices.
At GP’s nursery, the coconut seeds are planted in a protected and fertile environment for germination. The newly sprouted coconut seeds have to acclimate so they are bagged while they get used to their new home at GP. After eight weeks at the nursery, the coconuts seeds are ready to be transplanted into their permanent field at GP. Meanwhile, coconut seeds destined for sale and planting in farms throughout the region will be shipped in bags to their final destination after having germinated.