What is National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) Certification?
NPOP or National Program for Organic Production is a program under the Government of India which provides standards for organic production, systems, criteria and procedures for licensing of Certification Bodies, the National (India Organic) Logo and the regulations governing its use. The rules and regulations of the NPOP are in harmony with other International Standards for import and export of organic products.
The NPOP includes the following;
- Certification of products that are organic
- Authorizing of certification programs that are operated by ion Bodies
- Standards which is recognized nationally for organic farming and processing
- Policies for certification of natural products as directed by the Department of Commerce
Significance of Getting NPOP Certification
The meaning of getting an NPOP Certificate is that you can sell your organic product under the supervision of NPOP, and you can enjoy all the benefits associated with it. Also, the selling of certified organic products ensures the consumer that they are purchasing and consuming authentic organic and healthy food product.
The Aims of NPOP
The main aims of NPOP are the following;
- Providing with the methods to evaluate the certification programs for the organic agriculture and associated products including the wild harvest, aquaculture and livestock products as per the approved criteria
- Accrediting certification programs of Certification Bodies who are seeking for recognition under this program
- Certifying organic products after confirming with the NPOP
- Also, endorsing organic products which are meant for exporting after consulting with the importing country’s standards or as per general rules
- Promoting the development of organic farming and processing of organic products
The Operational Structure of NPOP
The various government bodies governing and setting standards for the effective functioning of the NPOP:
Department of Commerce (DOC)
The National Program for Organic Production is a program overseen by the Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce acts as the apex body for the supervision of NPOP.
National Steering Committee (NSC)
The DOC or Department of Commerce sets up the National Steering Committee as the apex committee for formulation of policies which is headed by the Commerce Secretary. It is the body which is responsible for the implementation and administration of the NPOP. The members of the NSC are chosen from various agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, , Ministry of Textiles, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Rural Development, APEDA, Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA), FSSAI, Commodity Boards and other departments and its officials having experience in organic farming and production.
National Accreditation Body (NAB)
It is serviced by APEDA and constituted by the NSC. The responsibility of NAB is to;
• Accredit the Certification Bodies
• Formulate procedures for evaluation of the Certification Bodies
• Constitute an Evaluation Committee
• Draw-up methods for evaluating and accrediting the certification programs of the Certification Bodies
• And performing other duties assigned by the NSC
Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)
The APEDA is a body that acts as a Secretariat for the implementation of the NPOP. It meets the requirements of the ISO 17011 for the accreditation of the Certification Bodies under the NPOP. Some of the duties of the APEDA includes the following;
• Evaluating the Certification Bodies
• Organizing and convening all the meeting under the NPOP
• Investigating the complaints made by the importing countries
• It issues necessary implementation guidelines to the accredited Certification Bodies for the certification and inspection
• Performing other functions directed by the NSC or NAB, etc.
Technical Committee (TC)
The NSC constitute various Technical Committees. The work of these Technical Committees is to formulate many technical standards, suggest amendments in the existing rules, to review the current standards, and to advice the NSC on various issued related to the organic sector. These committees consist of experts from different relevant fields and organizations.
Evaluation Committee (EC)
The NAB formulated the Evaluation Committee. The work of the Evaluation Committee is to evaluate the implementation of certification programs of Certification Bodies.
These are the agencies licensed by the National Accreditation Body under NPOP for certifying organic products. The accredited Certification Bodies certifies organic products under the specified standards under the supervision of NAB.
What is the need for Organic Certification?
Organic certification is a way of assuring the consumer from the producer’s end that they are addressing the consumer’s concern for the consumption of healthy food. In other words, we can say that by taking the organic certification, the producer assures the customer that the food they are consuming/purchasing is organic and hence is healthy. Also, it ensures the consumer that the products marketed as organic meets uniform and consistent standards. Additionally, it is a marketing strategy for credibility, image, and transparency.
Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations 2017
The FSSAI or Food Security and Standards Authority of India under the Section 92 (1) of the FSS Act “Power of Food Authority to make Regulations” formulated a regulation called, the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017. This regulation was made available to the public on the 22nd of June 2017. It comprises of three chapters contains guidelines for the organic food labeling and certification and Imports and Reciprocity.
Basic Requirements for NPOP Certification
The minimum basic requirements for applicant organizations for certification under NPOP are given below;
- Application as per the prescribed format by APEDA
- Copy of Registration Certificate indicating the firm’s legal status
- Memorandum of the organization
- Structure of the Organization
- List of human resources working in the Organization along with their details
- Audited balance sheet copy
- Specified accreditation fees
- A copy of the Operational and Quality Manual as per the ISO 17065 standards
- Copy of the operating procedure, format and checklists standard
- Copy of authority letter from the firm for the person assigned as a signing authority
- Any other relevant (or required) detail
How to get Organic Certification in India?
Let’s see what the procedures are for obtaining the India Organic Certification in our country:
Meeting the basic requirements
Applying for the NPOP Certification
Paying the prescribed fees
Review of your application
Scheduling of inspection
Verification during Inspection
Issuance of NPOP Certificate if everything is found to be correct
NPOP Certification fees
The fees for NPOP Certification are as follows;
Also, the fee scale for Organic Certification (for NPOP only) is as follows;