Natural Foods Merchandiser

OCIA partnership to aid small companies

In a move to empower small organic organizations to reach global markets, the Organic Crop Improvement Association, based in Lincoln, Neb., last week launched an initiative to create strategic alliances with organic certifiers worldwide. The OCIA, a nonprofit research and certification body, plans to offer its accredited certification services to partner organizations, while allowing the partners to keep their own organizational identity. This way, the OCIA handles all the certification, leaving the customer service and company identity to the local partner. "This keeps it local, instead of putting it in the hands of big business," said OCIA Executive Director Jeff See.

See said this new initiative would give smaller certification companies access to global markets which they would not otherwise have the money, staffing or time to receive accreditation for.

"We don't want to see the little certifying companies get beat up because they can't afford the accreditation we have," said See. "Organics has always been about grassroots."

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