On March 14, 1997, in Kaunas the first in Lithuania and the Baltic States certification body of organic products “Ekoagros” was established by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania.
Establishment of the specialized certification body “Ekoagros” was necessary, aiming to assess the organic products being produced and to provide confidence for all shareholders, ensuring compliance of products and the farming method with the determined requirements.
Vida Marija Rutkovienė was appointed to head the newly established body.
Further development of the institution:
- In 1999, Ineta Rutkovaitė was appointed Director of PI “Ekoagros”.
- In 2000, the institution was accredited by IFOAM accreditation services to implement certification of organic production.
- Since 2005, PI “Ekoagros” was managed by Ona Kazlienė.
- In 2005, the institution was accredited by Lithuanian National Accreditation Bureau for compliance with Standard LST EN 45011:2000.
- As a result of increasing number of farmers and expanding scope of work accordingly, branches in Telsiai and Utena districts were established.
- In 2007, the branches of the Institution were accredited by Lithuanian National Accreditation Bureau for compliance with Standard LST EN 45011:2000, expanding the scope of accreditation to certify handling of food products.
- In 2008, the institution started accreditation of distinctive quality products.
- In 2010, the institution was repeatedly accredited for compliance with Standard LST EN 45011:2000 for another period of 5 years to certify agricultural products of distinctive quality.
- Since 2012, Gintaras Nagulevičius was appointed Director of PI “Ekoagros”.
- Since 2014 PI “Ekoagros” is managed by Antanas Makarevičius.
- Since 2018 PI “Ekoagros” is managed by Gintautas Labanauskas.
Significant facts in 2014:
- The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania withdrew from the sharers, whereas the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania was entitled to execute State property, rights and duties as a sharer of Public Institution “Ekoagros”.
- The institution joined international alliance of certification bodies Quavera, uniting the leading certification and control institutions. The goal of this alliance is sharing international experience on the basis of cooperation, improving qualification of employees, increasing the number and quality of the certification services.
Significant facts in 2015:
- The body was repeatedly accredited for compliance with Standard LST EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012 for another period of 5 years.
- The body joined IFOAM EU group, becoming a member. IFOAM EU is an umbrella organization of organic food and farming in Europe, fighting for organically, socially and economically sound systems, based on the principles of organic farming: health, ecology, integrity and care. IFOAM EU unites over 180 member organizations, acting over the whole chain of organic food, as well as outside it – including farmers and processors, retailers, certification bodies, consultants, traders and scientists, as well as environmental and consumer protection institutions.
Contracts entered into:
- Contract with international certification body “DEMETER-INTERNATIONAL” on the right to carry out inspections in compliance with the “Demeter” standard.
- Cooperation agreement with “International certification Bio Suisse AG”. The institution was authorized to carry out inspections in compliance with “Bio Suisse” Standard in the scope of collection of agricultural and/or wild production, aquaculture and apiculture processes, trade and processing operations.
- Contract with “Naturland.e.V.” regarding inspection of operators in compliance with the “Naturland” standard.
- Contract with “KRAV ekonomisk förening” regarding inspection of compliance with additional requirements listed in Chapter 16 of “KRAV” Standard for certified production.
- Contract with Italian certification institution “CCPB ltd”, regarding inspection in compliance with the private standards “Natrue”, “GOTS” (Global Organic Textile Standard) and “TE” (Textile Exchange), for organic-natural cosmetics and organic textile accordingly. The institution was entitled to provide inspection and certification services offered by “CCPB Itd” to its clients in Lithuania and other states where it operates.
Significant facts in 2016:
- The institution entered into agreement with German certification “Kiwa BSC OKO-Garantie GmBH” and Armenian certification body RAB “Ecoglobe”, enabling `1qaz of inspections of organic production in the third countries on the basis of subcontracting.
Significant facts in 2017:
- The institution was accredited to certify organic production in compliance with National Organic Program (NOP) of US Department of Agriculture. Accreditation was granted according to the Organic Food Production Act of 1990, as well as USDA Organic regulation (7 CFR Part 205).
- Public Institution “Ekoagros” was included into the list of control bodies and control institutions, provided for equivalency in Annex IV to Regulation (EC) No.1235/2008 with respect to provision of certification services in the third countries (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Tadzhikistan and Kazakhstan).
- The institution entered into cooperation contract with China Organic Food Certification Center regarding certification of organic production in compliance with National Standard for Organic Products of the Republic of China.
- The institution became a member of the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC). EOCC is an international association of certification bodies and institutions, certifying organic production, established in 2010; it is currently uniting 51 members. The main goal of EOCC is to increase reliability of control and certification services, and to make decisions regarding organic agriculture in Europe. Moreover, EOCC is striving to improve the legislation regulating the activity and certification processes of European organic production.