Growers at this year’s Short Course were treated to a informational seminar on the MPS (Milieu Project Sierteelt) program. At this year’s Horti Fair, MPS will be highlighting retail marketing, supply chain quality and traceability issues, with the slogan "Improve your business, reduce your risk."
Below is a Q&A with Wendy Rodenburg of MPS (www.my-mps.com).
What other countries are participating?
MPS is an organization that assesses and certifies the performance of some 4,000 members worldwide in Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia.
How has MPS been accepted in the North American market?
MPS-Florimark is a supply chain management certificate. MPS-Florimark Production incorporates the MPS-A (environmental requirements), MPS-GAP (retail channel), MPS Socially Qualified (a guarantee of good social conditions) and MPS-Quality (the label for quality plant care). Once certification has been gained for all four of these certificates, a grower is entitled to the top-class MPS-Florimark Production certificate. MPS-Florimark also has a version, MPS-Florimark Trade, for wholesalers who need to satisfy strict requirements of quality care, traceability, the environment and supply chain quality.
What certifications are offered?
We have really started developing the contacts and seeking ways to increase the exposure of MPS since the end of 2004. Up until now, our contacts have been particularly aimed at cut flower importers in Miami and traders in the United States. There has not been much pressure for growers or traders to be concerned about certification, but now there have been contacts with one of the major suppliers to Wal-Mart and a major chain from Sweden that is busy expanding its branches in the United States is implementing a policy of buying only products certified with MPS-GAP.
What is the MPS program?
MPS will soon be starting a pilot project in China, where preparations are well under way. MPS has been active in India for some time now with MPS-GAP and SQ. MPS has been active in Latin America for a number of years now, too, although this market often sells to the United States, which is why we actually took the decision to start promoting MPS more actively there. We are starting a pilot project in Brazil soon. The parties mainly interested are those exporting or directly to the retail market. The more interest we can generate in understanding what MPS stands for, the bigger the chance that more producers and importers will start implementing certification activities, which benefits everyone.