In the year of 1996, professor Vida Marija Rutkoviene has started an initiative to create a new independent certification institution aimed at certifying organic products. A year later, on the 14th of March 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 stakeholders, ensuring compliance of products and the farming method with the determined requirements.
Vida Marija Rutkoviene was appointed to head the newly established body.
Further development of the institution:
- In 1999, Ineta Rutkovaite 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 Kazliene.
- 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 Nagulevicius was appointed Director of PI “Ekoagros”.
Significant facts in 2014:
- Since 2014, the institution is managed by Antanas Makarevicius.
- 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 an ownerof Public Institution “Ekoagros”.
- The institution joined international alliance of certification bodies Quavera, uniting the leading certification and control institutions.
- A cooperation agreement is signed with ABCERT AG in regards of inspections according to the German private standard Bioland requirements.
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 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”regarding the rightto carry out inspections in compliance with “Bio Suisse” Standard.
- 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” for natural and organic cosmetics, CCPB natural and organic cosmetcs, “GOTS” (Global Organic Textile Standard) and “TE” (Textile Exchange).
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 People’s Republic of China.
- The institution entered into agreement with the German certification institution GfRS regarding inspections according to the private German standard VLOG “Ohne Gentechnik” (without GMO) requirements.
Significant facts in 2018:
Significant facts in 2019
- Starting from 2 May 2018, the institution is managed by dr. Gintautas Labanauskas.
- The institution became a member of the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC). The decision was made in 2017, and the final EOCC General assembly vote took place in 2018.
- The institution became a member of The Accredited Certifiers Association – ACA.
- Starting from 2 July 2019, the institution is managed by Virginija Luksienė.
- Contract with “BIO AUSTRIA Marketing GmbH” regarding inspection in compliance with the “Bio Austria” standard.
Significant facts in 2020
- The institution was repeatedly accredited for compliance with Standard LST EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012 for another period of 5 years.
Significant facts in 2021
- “Ekoagros” was registered in National Accreditation Agency of Ukraine (NAAU), resulting in that all Lithuanian production certified by “Ekoagros” is recognized as organic in Ukrainian market.
- “Ekoagros” prepared a project for new organic catering regulations to the Ministry of Agriculture. The new guidelines for organic catering have come to the effect on May 1st.
- During Covid-19 pandemic, EFSA remotely examined the process of organic production and its labelling regulations system in Lithuania. The audit results were positive.
Significant facts in 2022
- According to the new ES organic production regulation, “Ekoagros” is recognized as an organic product control institution.
- The new EU organic production regulation does not stipulate the obligation for the organic product control authority to be accredited according to the standard. “Ekoagros”, as an organization, continues to be accredited according to the requirements of the standard LST EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012, only in the narrower field required by the relevant legislation.
- In February, “Ekoagros” stopped organic production certification in Russia and Belarus due to the declared state of emergency in Lithuania on account of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine.
- In April, “Ekoagros” signed a contract with The German Farmers Association, responsible for providing “Naturland” standard, to officially represent it in Lithuania and Baltic States.
- “Ekoagros” signed a cooperation agreement with Taiwan’s organic certification organization “Eco-Garden” in May.
- A digital survey was created for “Ekoagros”
- To commemorate “Ekoagros” 25th anniversary – a new logo was created.
- ŽŪMPSIS, an innovative IS system by Ministry of Agriculture for primary production, started working.
Significant facts in 2023
- April 19th 2023: Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 285 appointed “Ekoagros“ to perform official controls in organic production and labelling of organic products as per Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council Article 1 Section 2(e).