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Vegaplan Standard Benchmarked as Resembling Scheme against GLOBALG.A.P.’s Crops for Processing Standard


26 March 2021

Vegaplan and GLOBALG.A.P. are pleased to announce the benchmark as ‘resembling scheme’ of the Vegaplan Standard with GLOBALG.A.P. Crops for Processing (CfP) standard.

Discussions on possible collaboration started a few years ago, when GLOBALG.A.P. launched its Crops for Processing standard. Belgium is the biggest exporter of frozen vegetables and potatoes in Europe, and Vegaplan covers a significant portion of the agricultural production of Belgium’s crops destined for processing. More than 80% of Belgium’s production area for potatoes and sugar beets is under Vegaplan certification. And for vegetables used in industry, Vegaplan covers a full 96% of the production area. Thus, it was natural for these two institutions to look toward possible synergies between the standards and efficiencies in terms of certification.

Mathieu Vrancken, Chairman of Vegaplan, says: “Thanks to this benchmark we can demonstrate the quality of our Belgian system even better to international stakeholders, who may be less familiar with the Vegaplan Standard.”

Guy Callebaut, Chairman of the GLOBALG.A.P. Board, adds: “Wherever possible, synergies should be found between quality standards. Cooperation with the Belgian quality system Vegaplan is important in order to organize control and certification efficiently and not create unnecessary costs for quality assurance. That is why I supported this project from the beginning.”

A thorough comparison between the two standards confirmed that they match to a large extent. Considering the structural differences in approach, Vegaplan opted deliberately for the benchmarking recognition level ‘resembling scheme’, in order to maintain the flexibility and regional specificities of Vegaplan. Structure and content of the Belgian Standard are mainly shaped by the integration of the Belgians’ official autocontrol system and IPM requirements defined by the regional authorities. The aspects assessed as not fully equivalent are published on the websites of GLOBALG.A.P. and Vegaplan.

What does this mean in practice?

For Vegaplan certified farmers there is no specific impact. In Belgium, Vegaplan remains the reference standard for quality assurance and market access certification for crops destined for processing.

For trade, industry, and retailers, however, this benchmarked status offers them transparency about the extent of the similarities between the two standards, which will help them in their procurement strategies when seeking uniform standardization.

For more information, please consult the websites of Vegaplan and GLOBALG.A.P.





GLOBALG.A.P. is a leading global certification program whose mission is to bring farmers and retailers together to produce and market safe food, to protect scarce resources, and to build a sustainable future. GLOBALG.A.P. offers benchmarking services to other standards and schemes wishing to use GLOBALG.A.P. as a point of reference for demonstrating their resemblance.

Visit www.globalgap.org for more information.

GLOBALG.A.P. c/o FoodPLUS GmbH, Almut Sievers at sievers@globalgap.org.

Over Vegaplan

Vegaplan guarantees food safety, quality and sustainability of Belgian plant products and counts more than 17,000 certified producers. The Vegaplan Standard Primary Crop Production contains the whole of the legal requirements concerning food safety, as well as additional requirements for product safety, traceability and product quality. The Standard also includes requirements on sustainability and incorporates the legal requirements on Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Visit www.vegaplan.be for more information.

Vegaplan vzw, Brigitta Wolf at brigitta.wolf@vegaplan.be

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Vegaplan publisches Vegaplan Standard for farmers version 4.0 and Vegaplan Standard for contractors version 2.0


Following the approval of the new versions of the Sector Guides for primary crop production and for agricultural and horticultural contractors, Vegaplan publishes the new versions of the Vegaplan Standard for primary crop production (version 4.0) and Vegaplan Standard for agricultural and horticultural contractors (version 2.0). These new versions will definitively come into force on 30 January 2021 and 27 January 2021, respectively.

As the Sector Guides are fully included in the corresponding Vegaplan Standards, the FASFC declared the new versions of the Vegaplan Standards equivalent to these Sector Guides (i.e. G-040 and G-033 respectively). This makes it possible to grant a single combined certificate to certified farmers and contractors. Farmers benefit from the bonus on the annual contribution to the FASFC as well as from a reduction of the inspection frequency of the FASFC if they are certified for all product groups of their farm.

More than 16,000 Belgian farmers and 1,230 contractors are currently certified for the Vegaplan Standard.

The main innovations of the Vegaplan Primary Plant Production Standard (V 4.0):

The main adaptation in the new version of the Vegaplan Primary Crop Production Standard (hereinafter, "PCP") is that it takes into account the new legislation on plant health. This legislation stipulates that all plants intended for planting that are sold between professionals or via e-commerce must have a plant passport. In concrete terms, this means that products that are sold with a root and can be planted, such as herbs or edible plants in pots, now fall under a new category: "industrial vegetables with plant passport". Ready-to-eat vegetables that are sold with a root ball (such as lettuce or watercress) are exempt from the plant passport requirement. For chicory roots, the obligation to have a plant passport depends on the situation: chicory roots grown in Belgium and intended for forcing in Belgium, grown for one's own account or under a cultivation contract, do not have to have a plant passport: they fall into the product group "industrial vegetables without manual intervention". On the other hand, chicory roots that are sold between professionals or that are traded between Member States fall under the category "plants" and are subject to the plant passport requirement. Operators who are licensed to issue plant passports must now keep all relevant information relating to these passports in a register to be kept for three years.

In addition to the extensive revision of the chapter on water quality from last year, it is now stipulated that if a contractor is responsible for the water and this contractor is not Vegaplan certified, the farmer must request a risk analysis of the water used. This is important to ensure that the water always meets the minimum water quality requirement as described in the Vegaplan Standard. The minimum quality of the water used for washing containers, crates and paloxes is now also described.

In order to have a better view on crop rotation, especially with regard to bee risk minimisation measures when using neonicotinoid-treated seeds, the crop history should be available for up to 5 years.

In addition, a number of minor clarifications or additions have been made. The procedure concerning broken glass has been supplemented by measures to be taken in the case of broken mercury lamps and hard plastic. When a farmer sells pre-packaged products, a number of labelling requirements apply. These legal provisions are now also included in the Vegaplan Standard.

Adaptations in the Vegaplan Standard for contractors :

The adaptations made to the Vegaplan PP Standard are also reflected in the Standard for Contractors, when they concern a matter that applies to both Standards. For example, a chapter on water quality has also been created in the Vegaplan Standard for Contractors. If the contractor subcontracts all or part of the contractual work to another contractor, the latter must be certified for the Vegaplan Standard for primary production or equivalent for the activities concerned. In addition, a number of minor clarifications or additions have been made.

The new versions will be definitively in force from 27 and 30 January 2021.

The Vegaplan Standard for contractors will come into force on 27 January 2021, and the Vegaplan Standard PCP on 30 January 2021. From these dates onwards, all audits must be carried out on the basis of these new versions. However, these new versions can already be used before this date if both parties (the certification body and the audited operator) so wish. It is therefore advisable to get acquainted and work with the new version as soon as possible.

The Vegaplan Standards and an overview of the adaptations of the new version are available on the vegaplan.be website. The website also contains a user's manual with pictograms, checklists and procedures to help you quickly get up to speed with the necessary requirements and registrations. Finally, every certified farmer has access to the database in which he can check his own certification status, and which also allows him to draw up digital plot sheets and share them with his buyers. From January 2021, a tool will be available that will allow operators to generate their own personalised digital checklist.

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Vegaplan scores FSA 'Gold' equivalent against at SAI Platforms Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA)


Vegaplan has topped last year's benchmark score at SAI (Sustainable Agriculture Initiative) and achieved the level 'Gold'

Thanks to this excellent result and the high degree of alignment to the FSA, Unilever has referenced Vegaplan as fully compliant with the principles of Sustainable Agriculture. 

The benchmark has been conducted for arable crops, including sugar beet, potatoes, chicory, grains and vegetables destined for processing. 

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