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Necessary certifications for fertilisers

Modern agriculture is geared towards the production of quality food. However, it also aims to ensure the conservation of the environment and natural resources. Degrading agricultural soil would mean destroying farmers’ most precious asset. For this reason, it is essential to protect it in order topreserve its fertility and agronomic value.

The products used in the crop production process must be effective and have no harmful effects on human health and the environment. In this sense, those responsible for placing fertiliser products on the market must be aware of their composition, origin and compliance with current legislation.

Agricultural fertiliser regulations

Only substances authorised for use in agriculture in general and organic farming in particular may be usedin the production of fruit and vegetable foodstuffs. It is therefore necessary to regulate the use of new substances in the production of fertiliser products in order to avoid possible harmful effects on water, soil, flora, fauna and humans.

In relation to Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 on fertilisers, Royal Decree 824/2005 of 8 July 2005 on fertiliser products was published, which complemented the previous one and introduced the regulation of new types of fertilisers and amendments in an overall organic fertiliser regulation.

However, a series of provisions were later approved that made it necessary to repeal this Royal Decree, giving way to Royal Decree 506/2013 on fertiliser products. Its objective is currently to establish the basic regulations on fertiliser products and the necessary rules for coordination with the autonomous communities.

Certification of organic fertilisers

At European level, Regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008 regulate the rules on organic production. According to these regulations, the basis of fertilisation in organic farming systems is the use of living organisms in or derived from natural substances and low-solubility mineral fertilisers.

These regulations aim to improve soil fertility and soil biological activity through practices such as multi-annual crop rotation, the inclusion of legumes, green manures, application of manure or organic matter, etc. Furthermore, they add that fertilisers and soil conditioners that have been authorised for use in organic production in accordance with Article 16 of the regulation may be used.

According to these organic farming regulations, only fertilisers and soil conditioners whose composition contains only the raw materials listed in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 may be used in organic production. For the management of pests, diseases and weeds, those mentioned in Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 889/2008. In short, organic fertilisers for standardised organic production.

Furthermore, it is stipulated that they may only be used in so far as the corresponding use is authorised in general agriculture in the Member State concerned, in accordance with the relevant Community provisions or national provisions in conformity with Community legislation. In any case, it must be certified for organic farming. In any case, it must have the relevant organic certification.

However, fertilisers do not fall under the scope of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, nor under Regulation (EC) No 889/2008, and therefore cannot be certified as organic under these regulations. As a consequence, they cannot be labelled or advertised using the EU organic certification logo either. This is because the scope of the regulation is restricted to food products only:

  • Seeds and vegetative propagating material used in cultivation.
  • Animal feed.
  • Processed organic agricultural products intended for human consumption.
  • Live or unprocessed agricultural products (plant products including seaweed, cultivated or wild harvested seaweed, yeasts, certain aquaculture and breeding animals).

Therefore, the inputs found on the market must be commercial products consisting of raw materials covered by these regulations. However, several problems arise from this:

  • The information included in these regulations can be difficult for farmers to understand.
  • Only the substances of which the products must be composed are listed, without references to trade names.
  • In many cases, the equivalence to the specific sections of the legislation in force in Spain is not included, which makes it difficult to verify commercial products.
  • Sometimes, products marketed as suitable for organic production may have added products (not indicated on the label), i.e. polluting residues of products not authorised in organic farming.

Private certifications

As a result of the aforementioned problems and in order to achieve unification, private certifiershave appeared. SOHISCERT is a company specialised in agri-food certification, an innovator in the certification of organic production in Spain. It is the first certification body accredited by ENAC (Entidad Nacional de Acreditación) for organic agriculture and the first private certification body authorised for organic agriculture that includes certifications for fertilisers.

Why are UNE standards necessary?

These private certifications can also bring with them a number of problems:

  • They certify inputs as organic without proper administrative control, as fertiliser products are wrongly validated as organic.
  • They market fertilisers with a different composition than the one indicated on the label (added pollutants).

In order to solve these problems, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food promoted the development of a package of UNE standards for the production and certification of inputs. These standards had the consensus of all the social agents involved: farmers, input producers, public administrations and organic production control bodies, and their use is currently voluntary.

The objectives of these standards are:

  • To provide solutions to market problems.
  • To develop a standardisation programme
  • To provide additional guarantees to users
  • To facilitate their recognition on the market

Fervalle Certifications

The most important certification companies such as SOHISCERT, ECOCERT, CAAE(depending on the country where the product is marketed) are responsible for certifying Fervalle products for use in agriculture or organic gardening.
In addition, Fervalle is also Zero Residue certified, as our products comply with European Union regulations regarding residues.
Furthermore, we comply with all the regulations and certifications required for the research, development and manufacture of chemical, organic, biological and ecological products for plant nutrition and protection.

  • Regulations and Laws of Fertilizers according to country of commercialization.
  • Regulations and Environmental Laws.
  • Regulations and Laws of Chemical Products.
  • Regulations and Laws on Organic and Ecological Products.