Forest Garden Product Standards Approved!
Costa Rica, April 2014. This April, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) completed its evaluation of the most recent version of the production standards for Forest Garden Products (FGP). The FGP standards have now been adopted into the IFOAM Family of Standards.
The FGP standards are the first ones in the IFOAM family to have global reach, as well as the first standards developed in countries of the Global South – the idea of the FGP standard was conceived in Sri Lanka, and was worked on by groups in Ecuador before being finalized by the International Analog Forestry Network in Costa Rica. From now on, the standards, under the slogan “beyond organic”, can be used by inspectors and certifying agencies, and stand out as the only standard with worldwide application.
This is excellent news for IAFN, which has administered the standard for several years, since it represents the recognition of the restoration work that it has accomplished through its work on six continents. This is a great opportunity to promote a new path in the promotion of value chains for non-timber forest producers from countries with important forest resources in export markets, with the goal of promoting sustainable extraction and a focus on restoration.
Although it is clear that these products are already common on world markets (e.g. spices, resins, fibres, etc.), it is certainly important for specialized markets in developed countries to be able to put a value on their impact and ensure an appropriate management of forest resources and improvement of the quality of life in the communities that work with these products.
The FGP standard is a collection of best agricultural practices that aim to verify the application of analog forestry in diversified organic farms, or in farms that are interested in restoring previously degraded uses (e.g. grazing, monocultures, forestry plantations, etc.). The application of these standards began in Sri Lanka by the company FGP-IC and is currently being continued in Asia and Latin America by certified inspectors.
As such, FGP is made up of organic production methods and regulations, respect for human rights and fair trade – all of which are requirements of the label. It also includes farm management through soil identification, improvement of social conditions, carbon sequestration, landscape improvements and the identification of species that are indicators of biodiversity restoration.
Our European partner, Guayapi, has used the FGP standard to develop markets for products such as teas, various spices (pepper, vanilla, chile, etc.), tamarind, guaraná, nuts and other products from countries like Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Brazil. We hope that the IFOAM recognition will attract more companies and producer groups especially interested in tropical and subtropical zones.
In sum, forest garden products represent a new alternative that promotes production in harmony with nature, restoring the benefits of the forests and improving the well-being of the rural communities.
(Photo: Costa Rican nutmeg. Credit: Grover Stock)