Activities of the Quality Products Section
The Sector on Quality Products is formed under the Division of Legislations of the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment. It was established on 01.01.2011 in the framework of the re-structuring of the Department of Agriculture.
The Sector on Quality Products is involved in quality schemes of agricultural products and foodstuffs. These quality schemes include the Community scheme on organic agriculture (Reg. (EC) 834/2007), as well as the Community schemes that are covered by Regulation (EU) 1151/2012, i.e., Protected Designations of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indications (PGI), Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG) and Optional Quality Terms. The main role of the Quality Products’ Section is its contribution to policy making in relation to the quality products mentioned above as well as the implementation and the control of these quality schemes. As far as the quality schemes covered by Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 are concerned, the main responsibilities of the Sector are:
1. The implementation of the legislation No 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs
2. Implementation of national legislation 139(I)/2006 on the protection of designations of origin and geographical indications and 43(I)/2011 on the recognition of traditional specialities guaranteed
3. Preparation and implementation of the Multiannual National Control Plan for PDO/PGI
4. The participation and representation of the Department of Agriculture at the European Union Bodies which are responsible for quality schemes covered by Regulation No 1151/2012.
5. The preliminary examination of applications and the examination of the oppositions to the applications that are launched according to the relative legislation, as well as participation and provision of secretarial support to the Consultative Committee established by national Law 139(I)/2006 on the protection of designations of origin and geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs.
6. Coordination/contact point for issues related to the protection of Geographical Indications (agricultural products/foods/wines/spirits) in Third Countries within the framework of bilateral agreements between EU and Third Countries.
Main responsibilities of the Sector on Organic Products are:
1. The implementation of the Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products.
2. The participation and representation of the Department of Agriculture at the European Union Bodies which are responsible for organic production (Regularity Committee on Organic Production (RCOP) (Council Working Party on Quality Products/organic farming).
3. The approval and delegation of control tasks for organic production to Control Bodies.
4. The preparation and implementation of the Multiannual National Control Plan for Organic Farming
5. The supervision and audits of approved Control Bodies.
6. Conduction of visits to a representative sample of operators (agricultural producers/processors/importers/exporters/traders) to carry out review audits and witness audits accompanied with Control Bodies inspectors.
7. Management of the Electronic Control and Expert System (TRACES) for the import of organic products from Third Countries
8. Granting of authorizations for the use of non-organic propagating material in organic farming.
9. The maintenance of an updated registry of operators involved in organic production (agriculture/processing/trade/import/exports)
10. The publication of Organic Production Certificates
11. The preparation of the Statistical data for Organic Agriculture for EuroStat
12. Assistance to the Commission on the assessment of the Control Bodies (operating in Third Countries) for the purpose of equivalence according to article 33(3)of the Reg. (EC) 834/2007 and article 11 of the Reg. (EC) 1235/2008.
13. Assistance to the Commission to ensure the appropriate supervision on the basis of the annual report of recognised Control Bodies according to article 33(2) of the Reg. (EC) 834/2007.
Other Quality Schemes
1. Issues concerning short supply chains and local food systems, and other voluntary certification schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
2. Work on the establishment of national quality schemes.
1. Contribution to the preparation of the Rural Development Program for the measures related to organic agriculture, participation of farmers in quality schemes, cooperation(short food supply chains) (articles 17,30,36).
2. Coordinating role on Codex Alimentarius issues.
3. Providing the public with information in relation to the responsibilities of the sector via seminars, publications, articles in newspapers/magazines, participation on TV/radio programs, etc.
4. Preparation and submission of legislatory amendments to the House of Representatives of Cyprus.