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Agmark, the Assurance of Quality
The process of licensing anything indicates some form of standardization on the part of the government of every country. Giving license to anything implies approval to the quality of the product. At the same time, it also gives us information about the level of standard a particular product or service has achieved. Everything in the world has different types therefore, to make the users aware of the kind and variety of the product licensing process came into being.
Agmark Certification Act, 1937 (amended in 1986) was passed by the government of India to ensure the quality of products available in the market for the consumers. Agmark is an abbreviation for Agricultural Mark. Agmark license here deals with agricultural products in India. It gives certification of quality to various varieties of agricultural produce by testing under various radars like microbiological analysis, pesticide residue content, chemical analysis, aflatoxin analysis, etc. There are specific state-owned laboratories all over the country for conducting these analyses. The main laboratory of Agmark is located at Nagpur. At present, Agmark provided certification to 213 agricultural products.
Agmark Registration Procedure
India being primarily the agricultural land derives most of its income from producing agricultural products. However, these products have to go under scrutiny before they can be launched or sold in the market to ensure its quality. Therefore, it is a mark registration is unavoidable. With the amendment of the Agmark Act in 1986, a total of 213 products are tested for its quality before releasing it to the market. Also to export the produce in the international market the agmark certification is mandatory and the producer has to conform to the World Trade Organisation’s prescribed standards. According to which all agricultural produce be it horticulture or agriculture, animal skin and fleeces any drink that is manufactured using partly or wholly the agricultural product come under Agmark certification. The agmark certification is the Government of India’s assurance of the promised standards of the agricultural product quality. It is mandatory only for the products that can affect the consumer’s health and safety.
Documents required for applying for Agmark license
The following documents need to be submitted at the time of registration along with the application to get the Agmark License.
- Attested copy of products test report obtained from laboratory recognized by Agmark
- Firms documents by the Company registrar to establish its authenticity
- Copy of Memorandum of Association in case the applicant is a company.
- Copy of partnership deed along with the rules and regulations of partnership, if the applicant is a company and is in partnership
- Products name for which the license is applied for
- Applicants name along with identity proof
- Firms or company’s name
- Company/firms address copy
- Sample of the product should also be attached
- Last year’s total gross product in Kilograms
- Company’s previous year’s turnover
- Registration certificate of the company
- Machinery’s itemized list
- Certificate of Trademark registration
- Demand Draft worth Rs 1000
- Office or factory’s map
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. What are the differences between the Agmark license and FSSAI license?
Ans. It has been observed that many people confuse FSSAI license with Agmark license which is in reality very different. The most important differences are given below;
The most basic difference between the two is that FSSAI is the government agency whereas Agmark is a certification. Agmark seal implies the quality of agricultural product whereas FSSAI deals with all food items whether agricultural or non-agricultural. FSSAI also keeps a close eye on manufacturing, labelling, storage, packaging, etc. of the food items which are not covered by Agmark.
Both Agmark and FSSAI are governed by different acts. FSSAI comes under the Food and Safety Act of, 2006 whereas Agmark is governed under the Agriculture Produce (grading and Marketing) Act of India, 1937 later amended in 1986.
Agmark certification requires the product to undergo much analysis like chemical, pesticide residue content, microbiological, etc., for which special laboratories have been set all over the country with Nagpur being its base, whereas FSSAI license is granted based on the activity of particular establishment and its turnover. Every branch of that particular company has to separately apply for FSSAI license.
Q. What should the consumer do if it is not satisfied with the product or has some complaints?
Ans. If the consumer is not satisfied with the product and wish to complain about its quality then they can reach out to Agricultural Marketing Adviser with the particulars of the product like name, serial number, used by date, packaging date, trade brand, lot number, sellers name and address, and packers name and address.
If the complaint is found to have grounds then the action will be taken against the packer, as prescribed by the APGM Act, 1937 and the company has to refund or replace the aggrieved consumer money or product respectively.
Q. Is it possible to get the products checked for quality by the consumer?
Ans. If the consumer has doubts about the quality of the product then he can approach any of the Agmark recognized laboratory and get the product tested independently by paying the analysis charges. DMI’s sub-offices and regional offices can provide the commodities list that can be tested at those laboratories.
Q. In which 11 nodal cities of India, Agmark’s regional laboratories located?
Ans. The eleven nodal laboratories of Agmark are in Kanpur, Guntur, Kochi, Amritsar, Kolkata, Jaipur, New Delhi, Rajkot, Mumbai, Bhopal, and Chennai.
Q. How is Agmark different from the ISI mark?
Ans. Agmark is the certification of agricultural products where products have to be analysed to check the standard they are at before it can be approved, whereas ISI generally deals with the industrial products and determined its standard assurance on the set scale. Like kitchen appliances, electronic items, LPG related Items, etc. ISI is mandatory for all these products before it can be sold in the market. Agmark, however, is mandatory only for products that can cause harm to the safety and health of humans.