At a time when the market is saturated with products spiked with agricultural and industrial chemicals (that may indeed be damaging to our health) organic produce offers an alternative that is high in nutritional value, free of chemical toxic residue and unadulterated by synthetic chemical additives.
Hand-picked from farms and plantations maintained without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizer. Organic products utilize natural fertilizers such as green manure, compost, and cattle dung.
The certification process involves an annual inspection of the farms as well as an annual inspection and audit of the processors’ and the administration offices by an independent inspection body. Organic standards require that a clear audit trail be established and maintained for all products to ensure complete traceability from farm to consumer.
All farms are inspected to assess their sustainability. Organic farming practices are also closely monitored. If farms do not meet the standard, they do not receive organic certification. This means that Lanka organics has to work closely with the farmers at all times, who are imparted with planning knowledge and awareness of organic practices.
"Our processing facility is certified for FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management Systems by the British Standard Institution (UK) and for EU, JAS, and USDA (NOP) organic standards by the Control Union in Netherlands."
The Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) for organic products mark ensure the qualities of the products and certifies that our teas were produced and manufactured in accordance with relevant organic JAS Standards.
Key features of the standard for organic agricultural products include:
An organic label indicates to the consumers that the product has been produced using certain production methods as well as Organic agriculture provides a holistic approach to management systems that promotes agronomic, biological and mechanical methods as opposed to using synthetic materials for crop production and processing. Producers and manufacturers are allowed to make declarations in the market place based on standards and established procedures.
These systems facilitate market access, comparability and competition on equal terms. The use of accredited laboratories, inspection and certification bodies and mechanisms for verification of the authenticity of certifications and reports by regulatory bodies helps build trust and confidence among the trading partners.
In conventional agriculture there is widespread misuse of agro chemical fertilizers, herbicide and pesticides due to lack of awareness of risk, failure of read labels/instructions, failure to wear protective clothing or store chemicals safely. Misuse of chemicals leads to serious health problems for farmers and their families. As these agricultural are asset on organic farms, they provide safe work and living place.
The misuse of chemicals often leads to products reaching local markets with harmfully high-level of pesticide residue. Agrochemicals used by farmers (to increase the crop in backdrop of, financial fancily or to speed up harvest for the same reason, not reading the label, or ignorance about harmful effects of overuse) often lead to products reaching local markets with high levels of chemical residues, often at harmful levels.
Organic food does not have any, let alone harmful levels of pesticide residue since no chemicals use is permitted, leading to safe, clean foods on local as well as international market.
As Organic agricultural practice is essentially “sustainable” no external inputs are necessary (whether of chemicals or finance) to keep the system going indefinitely and as money is not paid to national and multinational companies for the supply of chemicals more money stays on the farms in the farming communities and in the country.
The sustainability of organic farming systems means that small farmers can work their way out of the poverty trap, without debts running up with moneylenders. There is no requirement to purchase chemicals in advance of harvests. More money stays on the farm.
The introduction of short-term cash crops is often bad news for small farmers. National and multinational companies persuade farmers to turn all their land over to cash crops on the basis that farmers will make huge returns in a short time. Farmers often have to buy planting material from the company concerned at the outset, and frequently receive payment for their crop months in arrears. Science, invariably the cash crop is the only crop plated, a devastation or natural disaster to the crop means that even subsistence is not as option.
Short-term cash cropping, and especially monoculture (growing of just one crop) are not compatible with organic farming practice, thus avoiding the associated negative aspects. Mixed cropping spreads the risk of the farmer, if one crop fails it is a setback not a disaster.
Lanka organics have found, across the board, that organic farmers get significantly increased income from the conversion to organic production. This is not merely a phenomenon caused by export of organic commodities, as local awareness has lead to the development of local markets for organically grown foods.
Studies have shown that over time, the productivity of farmland can in fact increase with organic methods until production is almost equal to that of conventional farmland. The equation of cost of chemicals against increased productivity is an interesting one, as very often the cost of chemical use outweighs the extra income from increased production. Organic crops may yield less, but cost of production is that much lower.
Organic production very often encourages farmer-communities to work in co-operation with each other in order to cut costs of transport to market or processing factories. Where one individual small farmer is a small voice, a whole community has a louder voice, and can argue their case for governmental reform etc, as well as for better prices. In this case organic agriculture gives small farmers increased self- confidence, and self determination.
Use of agrochemicals over time reduces the quality of the topsoil, which is vital for plant growth. As a result, farmers have to use more and more chemical fertilizer over time to achieve the same results. The planting of short-term cash crops on farmland, or land cleared from the jungle, often leaches so many of the nutrients from the soil, that the land cannot be used again for another crop. In the case of jungle clearance, topsoil washes away, and the land remains deforested for a long time.
Sustainability of organic farming systems involves soil development and conservation as a major aspect. Use of manure, compost and vegetable matter improves the soil structure and, consequently increase soil quality rather than the reduction of soil quality often associated with conventional farming. Over time the productivity of the soil increases the output or harvest.
Agrochemicals drain through the land and enter rivers and other water into supplies, eventually leading the oceans. This means levels of agro-chemical in drinking water, and harmful effect on wildlife especially fish, many miles away from the farming area.
On the other hand non-use of chemicals in organic agriculture means no contamination of Drinking Water Rivers, lakes and oceans from chemicals
Biodiversity on farms where agro-chemicals are used is generally diminished. Many species of wild plants, animals, insects and birds are affected by the chemical use. This can be seen in Europe with the decline in numbers of songbirds, wild flowers in hedgerows and fields, and native animal species. The same is true all over the world. On the other hand bio diversity increases on organic farms. Native flora and fauna can re- establish population.
In human history, agriculture can be described as organic. During the 20th century large supply of new synthetic chemicals were introduced to food industry to boost the industrialization of agriculture. The process of industrialization needed large yield, attractive crop in terms of its size, shape, enhanced shelf life. All this was possible in large yield of cultivation through taking utmost care of crop using synthetic chemicals such as; pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, radiation therapy, genetically engineered seeds etc. al. These synthetic chemicals although did not show immediate effects on human health but over a period of time human body started weakening due to various slow killing side effects of these chemicals. Thus the type of food produced using these methods is called Non-organic farming/food.
Apart from usage of synthetic chemicals in farming in various different forms at different crop stages there are numerous processes involved further to convert crop in edible food. All these processes create Non-organic food which is consumed daily.
Let us look at few types of food that can be classified as non-organic;
- Crop level processes
- Processed foods
- Pre cooked/ready to cook
- Frozen foods
- Commercial food