In August, agricultural companies of AUGA group, AB have successfully completed transition to organic farming, which commenced in 2015, and have received European organic farming certificates. Henceforth, cereal crops and milk produced by the companies are certified as organic and will be used to produce new organic food products.
„For the last three years, we have worked in compliance with all organic farming requirements. As a result, 30,379 ha of our 33,000 ha cultivated areas are certified. These certificates confirm that crops grown in these certified areas and milk produced from 3,500 dairy cows fully comply with the strict organic standards provided by and recognized throughout the European Union. The remaining areas with P1 and P2 status will be certified in 2018 and 2019, respectively. This completion of transition to organic production means that we are successful in implementing our chosen direction and symbolizes the growth of organic farming in Lithuania,” says Mr. Kestutis Juscius, Chairman of the Board of AUGA group.
One of AUGA group’s companies, the largest grower of mushrooms (champignons) in the Baltic region Baltic Champs, UAB certified its production as organic in 2015. In 2016, AUGA group introduced organic fresh vegetables and canned products under the new organic food brand name AUGA. This year, AUGA group, AB companies finalized certification of grain, rapeseed, vegetables, legumes, and fodder crops, as well as dairy cow herds.
According to Mr. Juscius, these new certificates will allow to expand into new product categories and to offer new organic cereal and dairy products to the market.
Obtaining certificates means meeting strict requirements
The three years transitional period to organic farming was necessary to clean up the soil and to ensure that operations are in accordance with European organic farming requirements: appropriate crop rotation, proper fertilization and organic plant protection methods. Certified farms may use only organic fertilizers, the use chemicals and genetically modified organisms is forbidden. It is required to protect the environment and ensure animal welfare. The organic farming certificate guarantees that farming activities are carried out in accordance with established EU requirements. According to public institution “Ekoagros” accredited to issue and control organic certificates in Lithuania, about 2500 of these certificates are issued annually.
“In terms of certification in Lithuania it should be clear that transition to organic farming is not that simple. The completion of this difficult process is a proof that everything we do is responsible, purposeful and successful,” says Mr. Juscius. “Furthermore”, he adds, “our experience shows that through innovation and investing in technologies it is possible to achieve good farming results and to offer competitive prices”.
“Being one of Europe’s largest organic food companies “from field to shelf” we offer a wide range of organic food products made from our own ingredients, ensure full traceability, and strive to make organic and sustainably grown food available to everyone,” states AUGA group’s Chairman of the Board.
Recognition earned abroad
Abroad, AUGA brand has the trust of numerous customers: participating in international exhibitions in 2017, AUGA group won an award in the Dubai Gulfood Innovation Awards Competition for best organic product, it was a finalist in the best organic product and design categories in London’s World Innovation Awards Competition, and won the best desing inf Fresh Food category in Lithuanian National Packaging Design Awards Competition.
AUGA Group’s products are already distributed by “Tree of Life”, the largest wholesaler of organic products in the United Kingdom. Main export markets for AUGA are Scandinavian countries, Germany, United Kingdom, Finland, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea. AUGA group exports in 2016 accounted for 56 percent of sales revenue, including commodity products.
Certified producers note that interest in organic products in Lithuania is growing. A representative study initiated by AUGA group and conducted by the market research company “Spinter tyrimai” shows that 2/3 of Lithuanians (65 percent) favor organic products and their growers, while the European Organic Farming sign (green leaf) is recognized by 59 percent of the country’s population.
For more information:
Kristina Karnickaitė, Project manager of Integrity PR, UAB. Ph. +370 616 89310, e-mail kristina(eta)integrity.lt