Zanzibar is producing spices since centuries. The present harvesting and processing methods have a long tradition in the families of the spice farmers. This may sound romantic, however tradition in the farming sector often means stagnation of the production and processing standards. Our cooperatives are motivated to make the difference, to do some pioneer’s work and to merge their farming traditions with a modern approach of the required production standards. «Tuko pamoja» is the motto of our small-scale farmers and 1001 Organic which means “we are together” and support each other on this journey.
In concreto, together with our cooperatives we decided to shifttheir production, processing and storing away from the main roads and houses to official processing and storing facilities. We have accordingly chosen three strategic locations close to the fields, set up functional processing and storage facilities and equipped them with moister meters to verify the degree of dryness of our products. The production away from potential sources of contamination was reflected immediately in the results of our partner laboratories in Germany and is a little milestone in the production history in Pemba.
Due to the trust of your cooperatives in the new production facilities we managed to produce several tones of organic Ceylon cinnamon chips (quillings) as well as organic cloves. Especially for the cinnamon it is interesting to see, that the farmers enjoy to restart the unattended cinnamon productions since they can count on our purchases with attractive prefixed prices and successively learn about the potential of their beautiful spice forest. The general trend shows that the world market, especially in the US, is slowly shifting away from the Cassia towards Ceylon cinnamon, since Cassia can be toxic and carcinogenic in case of a frequent consumption due to its high coumarin content. Zanzibars‘ Ceylon cinnamon is already a great product today with an even brighter future.
It is quite known that 2017 is the year of vanilla. Together with our organic farmer cooperatives 1001 Organic planted over the past five years several thousand vanilla seedlings. After a long period of waiting it was a great moment to harvest the first pods from these crops. The vanilla training earlier this year was reflected in the great product quality. The cured vanilla pods looked, felt and tasted great and the very high vanillin content was convincing. It is great to see that more and more small-scale farmers are able to cure their own vanilla, which leads to more revenue within the cooperatives. In order to continue what we started, the farmers currently visit every morning their fields and do the hand-pollination of the vanilla blossom. Isn’t it incredibly that one blossom will correspond to one vanilla pod only?
In the past few months we were not only active on Pemba but have also upgraded and facelifted our warehouse and processing center in Unguja. In addition to two new storage rooms, the processing center has been extended by a laboratory, a retain sample and a material room. For our staff, we have built modern sanitary facilities with shower and a changing room and designed worker-friendly sorting tables for upright or sitting tasks.
In terms of process technology, we advanced in the past months from conventional sun-drying to wooden over ground sun-drying trays. At the end of December, a walk-in solar dryer (8x12m) will arrive, which will allow us to dry properly in all weather conditions.
Not less pleasing was the Zanzibar visit of the top chef Fabio Haebel (Restaurant Haebel, Hamburg; http://fabiohaebel.de). Through our partner Zanzibar Gourmet (http://www.zanzibargourmet.com/), we have the opportunity to deliver our spices to the kitchens of top chefs around the world, who value premium single origin spices. With his 7-course menue around our spices, Fabio Haebel showed us how beautiful and touching it is to produce products with emotions, history and provenance.
- Outlook: Insiders know that in Zanzibar, at least for tourists, many spices from Asia, Kenya and the mainland are marketed and sold as Zanzibar spices. Often the spices quality does not correspond to the declared organic status. These are the two main reasons why 1001 Organic, the only EU certified organic spice production company based in Zanzibar, is about to start the marketing of its organic single origin spices in Zanzibar.
Furthermore and thanks to the various upgrades in our processing center and our know-how, we will, in addition to our own production, be available as a strong local partner and service provider for domestic and foreign companies in the spice sector. Stay tuned!