BioFlora®, a division of Global Organics® Group since 1972, has been a leading supplier of agricultural fertilizers and soil amendments for organic and sustainable crop production. A new trade policy and the Equivalency Agreement between the US and Japan announced January 1, 2014, BioFlora’s humic acid based products, particularly Humega® can now be used on organic crops exported to Japan. The agreement solidifies that all organic products certified in Japan or the United States may be sold as organic in either country with no trade restrictions.
Leading up to this historic announcement, BioFlora worked with an organic trade policy analyst and technical expert to provide a complete scientific portfolio on the value of Humega. This ensured that Humega was available for consideration and suitable for the US and Japan Equivalency Agreement. Humega is certified organic by two entities, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and BCS Öko-Garantie GmbH (BCS), as a biologically enhanced humic acid that facilitates soils and boosts beneficial soil microorganism activity.
The new trade agreement was signed September 26, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland, solidifying the international partnership. Signatures to the partnership are Anne L. Alonzo; USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator; Ambassador Islam Siddiqui; US Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator; and Hiroyuki Kobayashi; Director General, Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau. The announcement took place at the Natural Products Expo East, one of the largest trade shows for organic products in the United States.
This partnership between two significant markets will streamline access for U.S. farmers to the growing organic market in Japan, benefiting the rapidly growing organic industry and supporting job creation and business growth on a global scale. The current value of the organics sector of agriculture in the United States and Japan is greater than $36 billion combined, and with this new trade policy in place, it will continue to rise.
“This partnership reflects the strength of the USDA organic standards, allowing American organic farmers, ranchers, and businesses to access Asia’s largest organic market,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It is a win for the American economy and sets the foundation for additional organic agricultural trade agreements in Asia. This partnership provides economic opportunities for farmers and small businesses, resulting in good jobs for Americans across the organic supply chain.”
Preceding this agreement, organic farmers and businesses wanting to sell products in either country had to obtain separate certifications to meet each country’s organic standards, which involved several inspections and strict documentation. The United States has similar arrangements with Canada and the European Union. This new trade partnership with Japan eliminates significant barriers, especially for small and medium-sized organic producers. It also helps provide consumers in the U.S. with unlimited access to a diverse array of organic products.
The United States and Japan’s organic standards cover the life cycle of the organic product, including allowed and prohibited substances and natural resources conservation requirements. Both parties individually determined that their programs were “equivalent” with no restrictions for organic plant and plant products. As a result, certified organic farmers and businesses in the US can use any particular organically allowed substance or production method to gain access to the Japanese organic market.
Both parties are committed to ensuring that all traded organic products meet the terms of the partnership, retaining their organic integrity from farm to market. Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program—which oversee organic products in their respective countries—will both take on key oversight roles.
The United States and Japan will continue to have regular discussions and will review each others programs periodically to verify that the terms of the partnership are being met. This agreement only covers products exported from and certified in the United States or Japan. For additional details on this agreement, please visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOPTradeJapan.
For more information on Humega and its application for organic farmers for export and for the U.S. market please visit https://www.bioflora.com/
BioFlora was founded in 1972 and was the first company to make up what is now Global Organics Group. As a company, and as a part of the Global Organics Group of companies, our goal at BioFlora is to conceptualize, develop, manufacture, market, sell, and deliver a proprietary product line through the use of our innovative programs, to our customers in both domestic and international markets. Today BioFlora has 30 unique proprietary products that benefit growers, retailers and consumers alike. Our sustainable agricultural programs blend organic and conventional practices to maximize efficacy and efficiency of traditional agricultural inputs, while keeping in mind their environmental impact. For more information, visit www.bioflora.com.