According to the ICTSD the UK Soil Association has declared that it will continue to certify air-freighted fresh produce as organic, regardless of its ‘carbon footprint’, given the development benefits of this trade for poor people in some very vulnerable countries. The Soil Association Chair, Anna Bradley, stated that ‘it is neither sustainable nor responsible to encourage poorer farmers to be reliant on air freight, but we must recognise that building alternative markets that offer the same social and economic benefits as organic exports takes time’. In this context the importance of building local organic markets was emphasised.
This decision will ease current pressures on fresh-produce exports from ACP countries, but this issue is unlikely to go away. The questions arise: what long-term strategies can ACP fruit-and-vegetable producers adopt to address these consumer concerns; and what support will they need in making the transition to new forms of trade and production? This constitutes one of the issues needing to be addressed under the EU’s expanding aid-for-trade commitments.