About the Queen of Spices and a Container packed with Emotions

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.

Traditionelle Trocknungsplätze
Traditional Drying on the Mainroads
Verarbeitung mit Aussicht
1001 Organic Camp with a View
1001 Organic Feldlager mit Verarbeitung
1001 Organic Fieldstorage and Camp

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.

Bio-Gourmet Vanille (+16cm)
Bio-Gourmet Vanilla (+16cm)

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?

Bestäubung einer Vanilleblühte
Hand-Pollination of a Vanilla Blossom
Currently we finalize our last clove oversea container for this season and are already looking forward to the upcoming harvest of the spicy and tasteful organic black pepper from Zanzibar.  
Skilfull clove harvest
Clove processing

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.

Verarbeitungszentrum in Unguja
1001 Organic Processing Center in Unguja

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.

Wooden Drying Trays

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.

Taste the Spice Island Menu by Fabio Haebel feat. 1001 Organic
Taste the Spice Island Menu by Fabio Haebel feat. 1001 Organic
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!

Spicy Order for a Hotel in Zanzibar
Spice Order for a Hotel in Zanzibar

A Breath of Fresh Air in Spice Forests of Pemba

After various farmer meetings, field inspections and our visit at the Biofach 2017 in Nuremberg, the team of 1001 Organic has entered with a lot of drive into the second quarter. Within the past months 1001 Organic focused on quality assurance as well as on the expansion of the product catalog and its cooperatives.

Production of Cinnamon Chips

Just in time before the start of the great rainy season (mid-March to late May), 1001 Organic finalized the last international orders and held some workshops with its cooperatives. Our farmers were trained  in prevention of contamination, organic composting and soil care by Aske Tange, our specialist for organic farming. Furthermore together with our farmers we improved their processing and drying facilities.

Organic Composting
Organic Composting
Collection Point

On the occasion of the upcoming vanilla harvest, we organized a comprehensive vanilla seminar in collaboration with our two most experienced farmers, which found great favor with the cooperatives. Our goal is to let the farmers participate more in the added value chain through individual premium quality vanilla processing.


In order to strengthen the prevention of contamination politically, we initiated discussions with all relevant governmental and private players. The round table discussions are finding resonance up to the ministries and we hope to develop  a sustainable concept for the strengthening of the agricultural organic sector within the next months.

Fresh Nutmeg
Nutmeg with Mace

During the search for new products and farmers, the team of 1001 Organic has discovered its passion for turmeric, bird’s eye chilis and nutmeg. In addition to our current spices (cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and vanilla), we introduced nutmeg in our product line and are looking forward to the next harvest of turmeric and bird’s eye chilis this late summer.

Bird’s Eye Chili and Black Pepper

New Manager takes Charge at 1001 Organic

1001 Organic has a new Managing Director: Raphael Flury has taken over the management of the spice company in Zanzibar by January 20th 2017 and replaces the founding partner of 1001 Organic Friedemann Gille, who has been establishing the company since 2012.

Raphael Flury is a Swiss Lawyer with professional experience in the agriculture sector in East Africa and was most recently active in a mid-size law firm in Switzerland. After a comprehensive handover Raphael Flury, together with previous assistant manager Farooq B. Mussa, is looking forward to intensify the cooperation with the 1001-farmers and to expand the existing farmers’ cooperatives. As a further main activity, the new management plans to expand the 1001 Organic product range by new premium-quality organic products from the Zanzibar Archipelago.

Raphael Flury at the Head Office of 1001 Organic

A visit in Morogoro

Last week 1001 Organic travelled to the Morogoro region in mainland Tanzania. Visiting local spice farmers was the purpose of our visit. Our main interest was in exploring local production methods for black pepper. The visit was organized by Mr. Ernest Likoko of MVIWATA, a nationwide network of small-scale farmers which headquarters are located in Morogoro.DSC_1311

Due to heavy rain some roads were difficult to pass and the trip up into Uluguru mountains was only possible on slow pace.DSC_1244

The local production method for Black Pepper was explained by members of a local small-scale farmers cooperative, which is also part of MVIWATA.20160428_111359

Seedlings of Black Pepper are tied to the stems of Jatropha-trees and grow up the trees. Jatropha trees can be found in great numbers here in the mountains.20160428_112538

The trees are cut at a height of 2,5 metres and the pepper plants grow along the branches. After some time a small pepper bush has grown. This method facilitates harvesting and increases yield compared to the traditional production method, up in the trees of the forest which is still applied for example in Zanzibar.20160428_104320

This very interesting field visit was finished at Kinole marketplace. The marketplace was built by MVIWATA in 2004 and strengthens the position of small-scale farmers towards buyers because they can bundle their goods in higher quantities here. Spices like cinnamon and black pepper and a great variety of fruits and staple foods like cassava and potatoes are available here.DSC_1278

After taking a group picture with some farmers and members of the administration of the market the way back to Morogoro Town offered some breathtaking views.DSC_128720160429_075531

New Organic Farmers Cooperative in Pemba

Starting in March 2016, 1001 Organic is together with a newly founded organic cooperative in Pemba. Seven farmers from the village of Matuuni – who were members of a different cooperative before – founded their own farmers group. Working in a separate cooperative enables the village’s farmers to train additional farmers in organic farming and add them to the cooperative. The cooperative was named “Juhudi Organic Spice Cooperative”. “Juhudi” is the Swahili word for “effort”. The members of the cooperative will focus on cultivating cloves, cinnamon and vanilla.
During our visit on the occasion of the establishment of the new cooperative, we also checked some vanilla plants together with the farmers. The green vanilla pods are already quite large, this is a promising sign for an excellent harvest in May.
Vanilla Pemba

Deutsche Welle

A crew of Deutsche Welle TV visited the 1001 Organic storage and went to Kizimbani to report on the spice farmers’ work there. The clip can be watched here.

Organic Baobab Powder

 We are proud to announce that 1001 Organic will soon purchase the first baobab fruits on Zanzibar to process it into organic baobab powder. That means that we will add a new product to our spice range this June.

Looking for a new product, some time ago we stumbled upon the fruit of the baobab tree, also known as monkey-bread tree (lat.: Adansonia digitata). Due to its appearance, the Baobab tree is probably one of the most characteristic trees of tropical Africa. With a height of only 20-25 meters it can reach a trunk diameter of up to 10 meters. Studies on individual species revealed that the trees can become a 1000 years old.


Various cultures in Western and Eastern Africa use almost all products that the baobab tree provides. Also the African Wildlife knows how to use the tree to their advantage especially during the dry-season. Baboons, antelopes and other small mammals eat the fruit. With their trunks, elephants break out and remove the bark of the trees to absorb water when chewing the moisture containing fibres of the water-retentive tree.

For humans beings the fruit has primarily health benefits. With more than 100mg of Vitamin C per 100g pulp, it has an extremely high content of this important vitamin. The vitamin content is significantly higher than in apples, oranges or kiwis. The pulp is rich in antioxidants, calcium and iron. People in West and East Africa, where Baobab Tree populations naturally occur, people started to use the tree a long time ago. In traditional medicine Baobab powder is used in particular for the treatment of intestinal or digestive problems and to cure acute fever or pain.


The dry pulp and hence the powder has a light yellow color and because of its high Vitamin C content a slightly sour taste. The kidney-shaped seeds of the baobab fruit are up to one centimetre in size and will be processed into oil which has a high potential in the cosmetics industry.


 Baobab Powder is a so called “superfood” and is used to prepare shakes as well as an additive in cereal, sauces, or fitness-bars. The powder strengthens the intestinal flora without additional intake of chemical medication. The demand is increasing consecutively and has a huge potential on both local and international markets for food-additives.

1001 Organic is collecting the fruits in the Southeast of Zanzibar. Only non-damaged and completely dry fruits will be purchased from the certified collectors. The fruits will be transported to the 1001 Organic Storage Area in Mwanakwerekwe.


That is why 1001 Organic Baobab-Powder is produced in the most traditional way.

New spices have arrived from Pemba

With the arrival of the Maendeleo in the Port of Stonetown, a new batch of 1001 Organic spices from Pemba made its way to Zanzibar. Cloves, cinnamon and pepper were not the only ‘passengers’ though. Hundreds of people had to crawl down the steep ramp with all sorts of personal belongings before the old crane in the stern of the ship could unload the bags from the cargo area.

Just before sunset the truck was finally loaded and ready to leave the port. Fortunately the weather was gracious and the spices arrived safe and dry at the 1001 Organic storage area. On our way, darkness set in over Stonetown and the bags were unloaded in the headlight of a car. The new spices were stored in between clove and pepper bags waiting for export.

The Maendeleo has just moored in Stonetown Port


Passengers make their way down the steep ramp.


The crane lifts the bags over the ship´s rail…


onto the waiting truck.


Just before sunset the truck is finally ready to leave the port and the Maendeleo completely unloaded.


House warming party at the renovated office of 1001 Organic

With a small house warming party the renovated office building of 1001 Organic was introduced to guests and partners of 1001 Organic.

Michael Haentjes, Friedemann Gille and the Zanzibar’s Minister of Trade and Economy Honorable Mazrui.


A few impressions of the new Office-Building

The main entrance and the 1001 Organic name plate on the left hand side of the door.

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The balcony on the first floor overlooking the harbour.

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For comparison: During the period of construction and after finishing the renovation of the new office building. Now the 1001 Organic team can work productively in our new offices.

SAMSUNG CSC     16 IMG_0498


Clove Export around 1940

A clove avenue. Even today this mode of transport (seen below) is very common in Zanzibar and Pemba.

1_Clove avenue

Clove Trees can grow up to 10 to 15 meters in height.

2_Clove Tree

Little branches with leaves and the flower bud known as clove are picked from the trees.

3_picking cloves

Only the aromatic flower buds dry in the sun of Zanzibar.

4_stemming cloves

A very good sample of cloves. Size, degree of dryness and an existing flower head are traits for perfect product quality.


Cloves will be weighed…


before they are transported to the harbour.


The cloves are stored in big warehouses,

8_mountain of cloves 1

where they are packed in bags and prepared for export.

9_packing bags

Labeling is another important step to prove the cloves’ origin.


Daily wharfage activities: Bags are carried to the barges…

11_wharf workers

and loaded. In the background you can find the House of Wonders and parts of the Sultan’s Palace. Das 1001 Organic office is within spitting distance.

12_Loading cloves

Barges ship the cloves to steamers laying in anchor. Those former giants of the oceans bring Zanzibar cloves to Europe and the rest of the world.


This procedure remains almost the same until today. Trucks as a new mode of transport make the work much easier for men and livestock. The clove bags are nowadays stored in containers and loaded directly to container ships in the port of Stone Town where the long journey of 1001 Organic cloves starts.