September 13, 2021
Organic farmers produce safe and nutritious food for all of us, but organic farming also has the potential to improve the livelihoods of our farmers. Individual organic certification can be time-consuming, expensive, and administratively demanding for most of our small-scale farmers who live in rural areas along the slopes of Uluguru Mountains.
So, the ideal way to certify our farmers is through group organic certification, in which these groups of farmers implement an Internal Control System (ICS) in contract scheme between their spice farmers' cooperative (CHAUWAVIMU AMCOS Ltd) and SAT Holistic Group Ltd. This procedure of organic certification was pioneered by IFOAM – Organics International (IFOAM) and Fair Trade over the past twenty years and has been adopted ever since.
Before we go any further, an internal control system is a set of rules, policies, and procedures an organization implements to provide direction, increase efficiency and strengthen adherence to policies. As a result of all of this, farmers will be able to produce organically, and their produce will be marketed at a premium price all over the world.
Together with our affiliate organization ‘Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT)’ we have regular visits to our farmers in their farms, conduct trainings on how to meet the organic standards and make sure our farmers fully understand what is done in the Internal control system.
We facilitate the set up and operation the Internal control System in collaboration with the spice farmers' cooperative (CHAUWAVIMU AMCOS Ltd). This involves a series training and backstopping to ensure that farmers and all stakeholders involved in spice value chain understand, follow and meet the internal organic standards, manage risks upon commingling and contamination of organic products, organize and document all required information for organic certification, facilitate farm control and approval procedures, proper management of buying, storage and handling of organic products.
Farm labeling is the most important aspect of ICS. Through the use of the farmers record keeping book, SAT has been assisting farmers in proper management of their fields and also training of how to fill the farmers record keeping books. In collaboration with the spice farmers' cooperative CHAUWAVIMU AMCOS Ltd, SAT established a farmers' record-keeping template for the first time since project initiation.
The farmers Record Keeping book consist of four major sections (Inputs, Activities, Challenges and Outputs) ensuring a complete control of quality from the farm to fork. Through this book, Consumers and ICS operator can trace the products back to the farm level and easier to spot and to work on gaps to further improve and maintain the quality of organic products in the market.
Another benefit of the farmers' record keeping book is that it allows them to evaluate their production status and make informed decisions in order to improve productivity in terms of quantity and quality in the long run.
Farmers are attracted to the Internal Control system and they are highly motivated to adopt the system in production of organically certified spices and sell their products at premium prices.