Who we are and what we do

Organic Africa was founded in 2007 as a socially responsible entrepreneurship aiming at producing and marketing high value certified products together with its partner farmers for local and international markets in an ethical and sustainable manner. Organic Africa and its partner farmers are now key players in fair trade and organically certified agricultural production in Zimbabwe. We have built up a broad network of international marketing partners. We have tapped into the enormous potential of small-scale organic production, processing and marketing of high value essential oils, herbs, spices, and medicinal plants. Organic Africa is the only company in Zimbabwe currently certifying small-scale farmers, particularly women, for the international fair trade market, providing them with better market linkages, guaranteeing better prices and improving business ethics. All of Organic Africa’s products are sold with an internationally recognized certification label (Organic EU and NOP and Fair Trade).

  • Engage in sustainable business practices which draw upon indigenous knowledge systems and build on existing networks;
  • Produce high quality, fair trade and organically certified products derived from herbs, spices, medicinal, and aromatic plants, such as essential oils;
  • Generate foreign currency and increase food security by growing organically staple foods, such as maize, wheat, sorghum, and soy beans;
  • Assist farmers with training in organic farming and certification;
  • Reduce farmers’ reliance on expensive imported chemical inputs;
  • Market and distribute products in partnership with small farmers, thus generating employment and income for the producers themselves;
  • Build upon in-depth knowledge already gained in organic production in Zimbabwe and foster future partners on the international scene.

Fair trade and sustainability are integral to Organic Africa’s work ethic. Organic Africa is actively engaged in obtaining the Fair Trade label for all its products. This provides our partner farmers with an additional, market-driven incentive to make sure that their operations remain sustainable. Our partner farmers are paid a fair price and have the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with the buyers we put them in contact with. By placing a value on indigenous plant resources, we provide a strong incentive to our partner rural producers to conserve those resources. We guarantee that our products are free of pesticides, fertilizers and other harmful chemicals, by harvesting in the wild away from commercial agriculture, or by growing them organically according to rigorous international standards. If you purchase our products, you can be sure that:

  • You are supporting some of the poorest rural communities in Zimbabwe
  • You are giving an economic boost to a majority of women farmers
  • You are helping to conserve biodiversity
  • Every producer is treated fairly and paid a fair price
  • Every product has been sustainably cultivated or wild harvested
  • You are getting the best quality.

Organic Africa offers all its producers the opportunity to attain Organic and Fair Trade certification, covering not just the preparations for certification (which requires the establishment of formal community structures as well as fully documented traceability and Internal Control Systems), but also support for the actual certification process itself.

Organic Africa trains its partner farmers in the fundamentals of organic farming on the basis of biodynamic cultivation. Small-scale producers are contracted, trained, and internationally certified, not only to grow and process essential oil crops, herbs and spices, but also to cultivate healthy staple crops to feed themselves, their families, and extended kin. Drawing upon the indigenous knowledge base that our partner farmers already have, and the key principles of sustainable agriculture; we work closely with them to identify crops that are suitable for their particular area, and thus contribute towards soil amelioration. We also provide partner farmers with training in areas such as HIV and AIDS prevention and care, business skills, production processes, sustainable wild collection, and marketing.

Organic Africa now cooperates with more than 2500 small-scale farmers and their families in the subsistence rural areas harvesting a variety of indigenous plants to produce organic essential oils, as well as herbs and spices. Our business concept works as we have a reliable international market for our products and this market is growing annually in the double-digit range. In fact, high quality, fair trade organic products constitute one of the fastest growing agricultural markets in the world.

Certified organic essential oils, herbs, spices and medicinal plants are ideal for export since they are low volume, easily storable, high price products with minimal transport costs. Flexibility, reliability and timeliness are all eased by the fact that dried herbs and spices are non-perishable goods, while essential oils can be stored for some years, gaining higher value in the first 12 to 36 months. Organic Africa is currently the only company in Zimbabwe and in the region successfully producing internationally certified essential oils, herbs and spices with small-scale farmers, particularly women, as well as linking them to international fair trade markets.

Biodynamic agriculture is the oldest consciously organic approach to farming and gardening, and is one of the most sustainable in existence. It is founded on a holistic understanding of nature and the human being. This form of agriculture is particularly suited to the fragile economic, environmental, and social conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe.

Organic farming ensures the sustainability of Organic Africa’s unique blend of socially responsible entrepreneurship, while conservation farming practices provide partner farmers the opportunity to participate in carbon trading. Composting and the use of traditional plants in pesticide control eliminate harmful agrochemicals, while crop rotation with legumes as nitrogen fixers improves soil fertility. Only small-scale irrigation systems with man-powered pumps are used, while all herbs and spices are processed using renewable energy resources, that is, mobile solar dryers. In this way, Organic Africa’s cooperation with its partner farmers helps to reduce the existing carbon footprint and contribute ultimately towards the reversal of land degradation in the rural communities.

Weaning farmers off unsustainable reliance upon expensive chemical pesticides and fertilizers makes sense, given the erratic supply and exorbitant price of conventional agricultural inputs, as well as the damage to the soil that they and their applied methods cause, such as burning straw. Organic farming has the potential to allow farmers to shift part of their income towards educating their children, better health care, and a better quality of life. The principles of organic farming are not restricted to the crops that partner farmers export: they build the foundation for an increase in productivity of all crops that the small-scale producers grow to meet their needs and most importantly, those of their extended families.

Organic Africa’s wild harvesting and on-farm processing of herbs and spices using solar drying units brings value addition to remote rural areas in a way that has never been done before by commercial entities. Our focus on the organic production, processing and marketing of high value certified crops means that small-scale farmers can escape the vicious cycle of heavy reliance on imported inputs, unsustainable methods of farming, volatile produce markets, low producer prices, and lack of marketing. The company’s locally engineered mobile distillation unit is unique, being specifically adapted to the needs of small-scale producers, as it goes from rural community to community, to extract the oil from their crops. The income generated from the sale of partner farmers’ organic produce, provides them with a vital cash surplus for such necessities as food, school fees, bus fares, and medicine. In this way, participating farming communities benefit from a marked improvement in soil fertility and thus food security, as well as benefiting directly from the sale of their produce at favorable world prices, through the links Organic Africa offers them to international fair trade markets.

Since 2007, Organic Africa has worked extensively with small-scale producers in the sustainable wild collection of underutilized indigenous crops. For example, various communities who lost their homes and land during what is known as ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ engage with Organic Africa in the certification, sustainable wild collection, and processing of Khaki weed (Tagetes minuta), using a locally engineered mobile still. Organic Africa  also works intensively with impoverished communities in the arid Baobab-growing areas of the country, where baobab fruit and seeds are sustainably harvested and processed using a mobile still. So far, all the landless people who worked with us have at least doubled their annual income, and are very keen to continue cooperating with Organic Africa.

Organic Africa’s main competitive advantage is its extremely close customer relations. Another advantage is its cooperation with small-scale farmers. Typically, small-scale farmers are not able to achieve the same product quality as commercial entities. Organic Africa introduced process quality into prices by certifying the products of small-scale farmers according to international standards and by ensuring the correct process implementation. We can aim, therefore, at a reliable premium market.

Organic Africa is the only organization in Zimbabwe with a track record of a successful market linkage program specifically adapted to poor, small-scale rural farmers. They are connected to the international fair trade market, which provides them with better market linkages, guarantees better prices and improves business ethics. Organic Africa has built up a broad network of international market linkage partners buying high value, fair trade, and organically certified products. Our company founder has been working in the field for the past twenty years, and is well-known and trusted as a reliable partner. This is the key competitive advantage of Organic Africa and the reason why it has access to the international scene only five years after beginning operations.