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Voluntary commercial categories and quality standards


Unlike with binding commercial categories and quality standards, farmers and trading partners along the supply chain voluntarily agree on arrangements customary in the sector, in line with standard commercial terms and conditions of business. These generally encompass basic trading arrangements, quality parameters (e.g. size, moisture content, smell/taste, amount, length, gradings, etc.)., expertise and arbitration. In addition, marketing standards may lay down presentation and labelling criteria. Value chain platforms and multi-stakeholder dialogues can ease the process of coordination among actors involved.

Standards ensure transparency and certainty in respect of product properties throughout the entire supply chain from farm to consumer and provide greater financial incentives for agricultural producers to improve the quality of their products (consumer protection). Standards my also increase producer prices by differentiating payments according to generally applicable, comparable criteria and facilitate international trade and promote exports.


  • A properly functioning country-wide administration and monitoring system with access to the relevant information and sufficient technical and human capacities for its design, implementation and monitoring
  • Broad acceptance and recognition of the seal
  • Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with farmers' organisations
  • Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with local advisory services
  • Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with research institutions
  • Jurisdiction or arbitration body with locally recognised authorities
  • Properly functioning external audit structures (e.g. via regional or national auditing associations)
  • Quality management systems
  • Regular neutral inspections on farms and in agri-food enterprises
  • Sanction mechanisms
  • Regular staff instruction
  • Training opportunities for independent inspectors and users

Possible Negative Effects

  • Spoilage of non-compliant agricultural products
  • Increased costs in interregional trade with differing commercial categories and marketing standards
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This page was last edited on 7 May 2023 | 7:22 (CEST)
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