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Welcome to Naturland

Naturland farmers and processors have been ground-breaking global pioneers for over 30 years. The world’s first ever conversion to organic agriculture of tea gardens in Sri Lanka and India in the 1980s was the prelude to our successful work on an international scale. Currently 65,000 farmers in 58 countries manage an area of some 440,000 hectares according to the Naturland standards. To Naturland, organic agriculture means combining tradition with modern practices and experience with the courage to adopt new approaches.
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Fair Trade Week 2016: representatives of a Peruvian Naturland co-operative on tour in Germany

FaireWoche2016Logo 250Organic agriculture and fair trade form a link between farmers all over the world. Certification to Naturland Fair standards combines both organic and fair trade under one logo. During this year’s Faire Woche (fair-trade week) from 16th to 30th September, the German nation-wide fair trade campaign, two Naturland farmers from Peru will be giving an account of how organic agriculture and fair trade have contributed to improving their living conditions as they make a tour round Germany. 

The organiser of the Faire Woche, of which this year’s slogan is “Fair trade is taking effect“, is Forum Fairer Handel, in co-operation with TransFair and the German National Association of Fair Trade shops (Weltladen-Dachverband). Local groups and organisations are responsible for the planning and execution of some 2,000 to 2,500 activities. Naturland is a member of Forum Fairer Handel, which considers itself as the political representative of the fair trade movement in Germany.

2016 07 Kein Patent auf Leben 250The European Patent Office (EPO) is currently examining a patent on salmon fed with specific plants (EP1965658). From a communication to the Australian applicant, the patent looks as if it could probably be granted within the next few months, according to the German campaign “Kein Patent auf Leben!”. The subject of the patent is the fish itself and its oil. It is claimed that foodstuffs derived from this salmon are expected to have a higher content of Omega 3 fatty acids which are often described as highly nutritious and healthy. Naturland gives its full backing to this campaign’s call for action to be taken against this patent.

The claims made to justify patent protection are highly dubious. “If animals are to become an invention because they feed on specific fodder, then soon all cows and sheep will be patented that graze on grasslands. Or even people, if they drink milk or eat fish,” says Ruth Tippe, spokesperson for “Kein Patent auf Leben!”.

Naturland calls for a new approach to cocoa farming on the occasion of World Chocolate Day, 7th July

Kakaobauer klein bearbeitet 1On average, Germans polish off 116 bars of chocolate a year. Of these, only some two and a half bars are organic and fair trade. Most of the smallholders, who grow over 90% of the cocoa produced world-wide, live in dire poverty. Recent headlines such as “Sweet Chocolate Made From Bitter Beans” have been a rude awakening for the consumer and have resulted in ever more advertisements for chocolate displaying various conventional sustainability labels. The only real alternative, however, is organic farming in combination with fair trade.

“Cocoa farming can only be considered sustainable if the farming system is organic and the cocoa sold through fair trade channels, meaning that the farmers can earn a living from the few hectares of land they own. All other claims are just window dressing to deceive the consumer,” says Hans Hohenester, the president of Naturland on the occasion of World Chocolate Day on 7th July.

On an increasing scale, tropical fruit is being promoted in German retail stores with the aid of various conventional sustainability labels. In the view of the human rights organisation Oxfam, however, in most cases this is nothing less than a “fraudulent misrepresentation in the supermarket”. In its survey entitled “Sweet Fruit, Bitter Truth“, Oxfam criticises the production conditions and the use of pesticides on banana and pineapple plantations in Costa Rica and Ecuador which display the Rainforest Alliance label on their products.

Naturland sees the Oxfam survey as confirmation of its claim that only organic is really sustainable. This assessment was also recently corroborated by testers of Stiftung Warentest (an independent German consumer organisation) which evaluated six different sustainability labels. Their clear conclusion: “The Naturland Fair label sets the highest standards”. By contrast, Rainforest Alliance was rated by the testers as the label which makes the lowest demands: it focuses primarily on increasing production yet does not guarantee the smallholders minimum prices or bonus payments, for example.