Interview with QCS Scheme Manager Ramkrishnan Balasubramanian

Why is GLOBALG.A.P. membership important to you?

QCS certifies many small producers both in the U.S and internationally. These small producers often face numerous challenges understanding and complying with GLOBALG.A.P standards. By being a member of GLOBALG.A.P, QCS can communicate directly with GLOBALG.A.P with these concerns and feedback and act as effective ambassador between the growers and GLOBALG.A.P. As a grassroots nonprofit organization who has been a leader in the organic movement in the U.S. for more than 30 years, we continue to work to make sure everyone has access to fresh, healthy, and safe food. We know that just because food is organic does not automatically mean we do not need to make sure it is safe to eat.

What is your GLOBALG.A.P. story?

We were looking for a GFSI recognized certification scheme that work at the farm level. We knew that we needed a program that did not act like mobsters or was militant in their regulations or even have any conflict of interests. Rather, we wanted to be part of a program that functions in the interest, and works with small and mid-size farmers , and not just big industry. GLOBALG.A.P was the only program that fit our goals/criteria and values. When GLOBALG.A.P opened an office in North America, QCS was one of the very first agencies to join their efforts.

What is something that you are looking forward to with IFA Version 6?

QCS believes in efficiency. We think that it is important that for those farmers who are also certified organic, IFA Version 6 can provide tools (e.g. streamlined checklist) that we can combine for the verification of their organic practices. This would enable us to make sure farmers don’t suffer unnecessary audit fatigue.

Another improvement that we think would be useful is the development of educational videos, designed for adult-leaners, and that provides information in a concise, easy to understand manner. In other words, provide tools designed for farmers.