The Consejo de la Producción Agraria Ecológica del Principado de Asturias (COPAE) is a management entity set up by the Agricultural Regional Ministry in order to carry out the official control of organic production.
COPAE is regulated by Decree 81/2004, of 21 October, on organic agricultural production and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs, in the Principality of Asturias.
The governing body of COPAE is the plenary of the Council, in which producers, processors, consumers and the Administration of the Principality of Asturias are represented.
Its functioning is regulated by an Internal Regime Regulation, passed by the plenary of the Council.
But it also holds other public roles, such as managing the register of organic operators, safeguarding compliance with organic production regulations, promoting the consumption of organic food, and disseminating and promoting organic production, and organic production systems.
COPAE controls organic production regulations in all the production, transformation and distribution phases of organic products. Thus, COPAE is responsible for the management of the following operators’ registers:
In terms of agricultural, livestock or aquaculture productions.
In terms of the companies that process, transform or distribute products.
In terms of import activities from third countries.
For businesses that handle or sell organic products to end users or consumers, in bulk or by pieces.
To guarantee the origin of organic products, COPAE offers the possibility of signing collaboration agreements with mass catering businesses, creating a new register to control restaurants or mass catering businesses that prepare menus or dishes with organic ingredients.
COPAE collects data on organic production on a yearly basis. The information provided includes the number of operators per activity, the registered surface area per crop, livestock farms or types of industries, among other data.
Statistical data are available from the year 2001, on the website of the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, for Asturias as well as for other Autonomous Communities in Spain.
Moreover, COPAE publishes the distribution maps of organic production in Asturias, broken down by councils/municipalities
One of the duties established by the European legislation in terms of organic production is the operators’ contribution to the control costs. Thus, COPAE establishes different registration and maintenance fees, depending on the nature of the operator and certified activities.
COPAE is a public and non-profit management body. The revenues from the operators’ fees are allocated to cover some of the control and operating expenses, as well as part of the organic production promotion expenses.
As these are public roles assigned by the Administration, COPAE also receives funds from the Regional Ministry of Agriculture.
Organic production is regulated at a European level. The updated legislation on organic production, at a European and national level, can be consulted on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture.
In Asturias, the regulatory documents are: