Both of us at 1001 Organic and our farmers have been working for a while towards these days and now we hope everything goes according to plan: Since yesterday, an auditor working for the German organic certifier Lacon is in Zanzibar to determine whether we meet the requirements for getting the authorisation to export our organic spices into the European Union.
We never had doubts that only organic farming methods are used for spice farming in Zanzibar because pesticides, insecticides or other chemical substances have never been used here. However, to get organic certification this needs to be 100% verifiable. This meant a lot of work for us during the past weeks and months because according to the organic regulations, every single plot that is used for organic farming has to be drawn in detail on a map. However, very few plots in Zanzibar are documented in the government’s official land cadaster which meant we had to map over 60 plots ourselves. Lots of walking through dense spice forest too place…
The auditor not only checked the documentation that we put together but he also wanted to see how our farmers grow, harvest and dry their spices in order to determine whether they qualify for organic certification. He wanted to know for example, whether farmers use compost systemically as an organic fertilizer.
After long walks through the spice fields and lot’s of questions for the farmers, a strong Zanzibar coffee at the end of the inspection day has already become a tradition.