On 15 October in Zhengzhou, China, GLOBALG.A.P. representatives hosted a live conference supported by the China Ants Alliance (CAA). Exploring how GLOBALG.A.P. certification and the GGN label can open new markets for Chinese producers and meet rising consumer demand for safe, responsibly produced food, the participants included a range of certification bodies, consultant companies, agricultural material companies, and producers. Guests represented both domestic and international organizations such as Bayer, CQC, SGS, Ecocert, StarFarm, PepsiCo Foods, and more. The conference was sponsored by Bayer AG – Crop Science division.

The CAA was originally established by 12 retailers from 6 provinces, with a central goal of promoting good farming practices and food safety in the Chinese market. The group has grown rapidly and now has 76 member units spanning 28 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities across the country. Working directly under the central government, CAA members operate more than 6,000 retail stores with an annual turnover of 85 billion yuan (11.7 billion euros).

Connecting global community members

GLOBALG.A.P. has had an active presence in China for the last 15 years, and the 2021 event was aimed at further boosting dialogue among global community members. The “Love Private Brand Show” on 15 October included discussions on the latest developments in food safety and sustainability, cooperation projects, and global agricultural development trends towards certification. In the Chinese context, the CAA aimed to highlight intensifying retail competition among consumer brands and find new responses to challenges facing private brand owners within the country.  

GLOBALG.A.P. Managing Director Kristian Moeller kicked off the day with a welcome video from Germany, which was followed by six speeches and a roundtable discussion with a variety of stakeholders from the sector. A networking dinner organized by the CAA on the day before the event also provided an opportunity for conference speakers to meet with selected retailers.

One of the key speakers, Manager of Bayer Crop Science China’s food chain business and BayG.A.P. program Maggie Wu, commented on the event: “It has created a friendly, common communication platform for enterprises focusing on the development of China’s agricultural industry chain. It has also helped participants understand China’s agricultural environment, market dynamics, and the needs and pain points of farmers, as well as the requirements of end consumers regarding the quality of agricultural products.”

Creating new opportunities for Chinese stakeholders

The first speaker of the day was GLOBALG.A.P.’s China Chief Representative Xin Zhou, who introduced the GLOBALG.A.P. standards and consumer-facing GGN label. This was followed by Maggie Wu, who outlined promotion practices for farm assurance in the Chinese market. The last talk of the morning was held by CAA Quality Director Ye Xiaoyan, who spoke about the CAA’s quality development work.

After the lunch break, Qu Fengfa, Head of GLOBALG.A.P. certification at the China Quality Certification Centre (CQC), detailed how GLOBALG.A.P. certification promotes sustainable agricultural development. This was followed by a talk on how GLOBALG.A.P. certification supports market progress, led by Xie Kunyou, Chairman of Shaoguan Jinzhe Ecological Agricultural Technology Co. Ltd. Before the roundtable, the Chairman of SafeFarm, Liu Xibin, spoke about the new opportunities that have been created by GLOBALG.A.P. in China.  

The roundtable discussion, hosted by GLOBALG.A.P. Technical Key Account Manager Wei Pu, explored the topic of opening new markets through certification. Five participants took part in the talk, including Maggie Wu, Shu Guancheng (General Manager of ANSENSE), Xu Qian (Development Manager at Ecocert), Wang Hui (Technology Department Director of Anhui Kaibo Biotechnology), and Yulia Yao (Co-Founder and Head of Traceability at IQC Shanghai).

The event day closed with a speech by CAA Vice President Jin Guang. 

Facilitating exchange

The CAA event was a great success in enhancing the link between farmers, markets, and certification, and one of the most prominent feedback areas was the strong desire to hold an annual meeting. The conference is seen as not only a vital opportunity to promote good farming practices in China via GLOBALG.A.P. standards, but also a crucial exchange point between Chinese certification bodies, consultants, material enterprises, retailers, and producers.  

There was also clear demand to place a renewed focus on Chinese consumers through increased awareness of certification, primarily by familiarizing them with GLOBALG.A.P. standards and the GGN label. Chinese stakeholders noted that a strong market performance was essential to encouraging even more producers to seek certification in the future.

Photo courtesy by CAA
from left to right:
1) Shu Guancheng, general manager of ANSENSE, 
2) Song Xiaohui, cooperation manager, Bayer China
3) Xu Qian, manager of the development department, Ecocert
4) Maggie Wu,manager, Bayer Crop Science (China) food chain business and BAYG.A.P.
5) Zhou Xi, China representative, GLOBALG.A.P.
7) Qu Fengfa, head of GLOBALG.A.P. certification, CQC
8) Xie Kunyou, chairman of Shaoguan Jinzhe Ecological Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd