Organic farming is a system that provides the consumer with fresh and authentic food while respecting the natural life-cycle systems.
In order to accomplish this, organic farming practices include wide crop rotation as a prerequisite for an efficient use of on-site resources. The implementation of very strict limits on chemical synthetic pesticide and synthetic fertiliser use, livestock antibiotics, food additives and processing aids has to be strictly and fully adhered to. The use of genetically modified organisms is prohibited in this regard.
One has to bear in mind that organic farming is a process where one may take advantage of on-site resources, such as livestock manure for fertiliser or feed produced on the farm. It is also important to choose plant and animal species that are completely resistant to disease and well-adapted to local conditions. The livestock has to be raised in free-range open-air systems and provided with organic feed. There are different animal husbandry practices which are appropriate to the various species of livestock.
But organic farming is also part of a larger supply chain which encompasses food processing distribution and retailing sectors and ultimately you! Therefore, each time you purchase an organic apple from a supermarket or choose an organic wine at the restaurant of your fancy, you can be certain that these were produced according to strict standards aimed at respecting both the environment and animals.
For organic farmers, a very fertile soil and respect for the environment are of crucial importance for both humans and animals. Organic farmers respect the environment through a multitude of way which include being responsible for the use of energy and natural resources. The maintenance of biodiversity and of regional balances is also crucial in this respect. The soil fertility needs to be enhanced continuously and the water quality needs to be maintained properly.
Organic farmers can respect the animals through promoting animal health and welfare while meeting their specific behavioural needs on a daily basis.
Organic processors as well as marketers and food distributors will have the same objectives as organic farmers, namely the provision of fresh and genuine processed foods designed to respect nature and its systems. Ultimately the consumers eating these foods will benefit from their sensible choice of going organic. Most organic foods include baby food, wine made from organic grapes, fresh yoghurt, cakes, bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, cold meats, tinned fruits and vegetables, coffee, tea and other foods which may form part of an even larger range of products.
When purchasing organic produce, consumers should look out for the distinctive certification logo that shows that the product has been produced according to Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007.
In Malta, the competent authority on organic farming practice is the Ministry for the Environmental, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Rural Development Department and the Control Authority with the remit to inspect and certify operators is the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.
How to become certified
SMI Certification offers organic farming certification against the above-mentioned European Regulations. The certification process is as follows:
The operator shall use this online form to apply for certification. Prior to applying;
The certification fees can be viewed in this schedule.
The terms and conditions of service can be viewed in this document.
You may find information on the operator type (e.g. Producer, Processor, Importer, etc.) in this document.
When MCCAA receives the completed application form, it will be reviewed, and a representative will contact you and may ask for specific documents.
An inspector will contact you to fix an appointment for the site inspection.
During the inspection, an inspection report will be filled that includes a recommendation or otherwise for certification.
This report will be forwarded to the certification board who will take the final decision.
A certificate will be issued showing the status of the operator (under conversion or Organic, refer to this document), the type of operator and the certification scope. A unique certification number and logo will be issued to the operator.
Surveillance inspections are held at least once a year.
Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1235/2008 of 8 December 2008 laying down detailed rules for implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as regards the arrangements for imports of organic products from third countries
List of Authorised Plant Protection Products that may be used in Organic Farming: The listed PPPs may be used for organic production. This list was extracted from the approved PPPs in Malta. Note that if the product is not listed, operators should first confirm with the Control Authority (MCCAA) in view that Malta’s list of approved PPPs is continuously being updated. In any case, Annex II of Regulation 889/2008 (as may be updated) shall always prevail. It is important also to note the restriction on the use of copper is now 28 kg/ha of copper over a 7-year period, that is around 4kg/ha a year. This limit was lately adjusted (still to be published) to be in line with Reg. 540/2011 as updated by Reg. (EU) 2018/1981 of 13 December 2018.