BioAgriCert, Italy, Amalia Rueda.
Another interesting conversation I had with Amalia Rueda of Bio Agri Cert (BAC) . BAC is IFOAM accredited. They have 35 places in the world where they have an officer at least a local controller. 25 people work near Bologna in Italy, another 75 work in other parts of the world. In Thailand is one of the 4 bigger offices. I asked: Is there an Italian director there? No. It is local people who do the controlling of the farms and the other producers. And is there somebody going there sometimes ? Yes, Riccardo Cozzo, the central man in the organisation (the boss, I would say) goes there himself. Only he. Always he. (I joked : he goes to the nicer countries, you go to cold places….Ha ha). So here we see what happens: an organisation with 35 offices and 100 employees is more or less run by Mr. Cozzo, nevertheless he has time to go into the bush and walk over Thai farms to check if there may be some chemicals used. I put this question to Mr Commins, who dared to say: “Yes, mr. Cozzo will probably visit those farms.” I am afraid that I can find fraud on every farm that is accredited by BioAgriCert in Thailand.
BioAgricert is very popular in Thailand, China and Mexico. I have an idea why that is the case.
Ceres, internationa certifier in Germany.
I had a discussion with the certifiers of Ceres. One of them did not want to talk to me after some time and asked me to leave, but his colleague who had lived for 3 years in Thailand showed more understanding. It was not a very nice experience.
David Peace, director of the Soil Association.
I attended a meeting about the new EU regulations given by the director of the Soil Association, Mr Blake. For me it was very difficult to understand it all, as I am completely new in the world of regulations. I understand that the EU governments want a bigger say in the matter. at cost of IFOAM and other organisations. I am a little cynical: what does it matter wheater you are cheated against this regulation or against that regulation? But they are very concerned. At the same time I think that they all know about the dubious status of organics from far away countries.
Coen van Beuningen, Holland, government help for developping countries.
After this well visited meeting I spoke to Coen van Beuningen, a Dutchman who knows most IFOAM people. He is a very friendly and positive man, but he should be: I pay a lot of taxes so that he can go to the underdeveloped countries to train people to become certifiers. They always take one whole day out to find out what the certifiers-to-be consider ‘good’. I said: maybe he thinks that corruption, lets say —‘helping your own family and giving a job to your cousin instead of givingit to a well qualified other’ — is his idea of ‘good’.
Coen: Then he will say that and we can teach him that he must change that. Coen is nice but very naive. He has a wonderful life. He can decide where he will spread around my taxmony. He is like Santa Claus. Maybe he even thinks that he is making this world a better place.
End of part 4.