Keywords: Fertiliser assurance, fertiliser security, FIAS certification.
In January 2006, at the request of the British Government, the voluntary Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS) was launched. The objectives of the Scheme were to ensure safety, security and traceability of fertilisers throughout the fertiliser supply chain, up to the point where fertiliser is delivered to the end user. The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) was invited to manage the Scheme on behalf of the Industry. A Steering Group, consisting of government, fertiliser and farming industry stakeholders was set up to oversee its development. A Certification Body, PAI was appointed which, together with a Technical Working Group, produced a Scheme Manual and non-statutory Codes (Standards) for each of the five sectors covered: manufacturers, merchants, importers, transport and storage. Assessors were recruited and trained.
The Scheme got off to a promising, if rather slow, start. To encourage sign-up, a cut-off date was imposed in June 2008, after which it was intended that the supply chain would be fully joined up, with each part of the Industry able to demonstrate, through FIAS certification or subcontractor audit, that it complied with the FIAS Codes. Rapid growth has subsequently been achieved and the Scheme now has a high level of coverage in most sectors. FIAS has attracted interest from other countries and the EU Commission is considering the practicalities of instigating a similar scheme across the EU.
The Scheme Codes have recently been reviewed and revised to take account of feed-back from scheme participants, assessors and the certification body. A stakeholder consultation exercise has been carried out and the resulting comments and suggestions are being considered by the FIAS Working Group. It is possible that as a result of these deliberations a second consultation period may be necessary before the revised standards are finalised. The new Codes will be launched later in 2009 at a date to be confirmed by the Steering Group.
FIAS has provided a national framework for safety, security and traceability in the fertiliser supply chain. It has reduced the opportunity for the use of fertiliser materials in the creation of improvised explosive devices. Participants have benefited by having an operating framework which provides a due diligence defence if required and potentially costly and onerous legislation has been avoided.
Eileen Pullinger, Simon Williams, Mike Buchan and Kish Shah, Agricultural Industries Confederation, Peterborough PE2 6XE, UK.
28 pages, 5 figures, 2 tables.