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Social responsibility and biodiversity in the focus of the members' meeting

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The very first Naturland assembly in Sri Lanka took place this November. 22 representatives from twelve Naturland certified producer organisations and processing companies accepted the Naturland invitation and attended the half day meeting in Colombo. Sri Lanka was one of the first countries where the international Naturland involvement had started more than 30 years ago.

As early as 1987, Naturland was involved in the conversion of the world's first tea garden to organic farming. In the course of time further operations joined Naturland, especially small-scale tea and spice famers groups as well as corresponding processing and export companies.
In recent years the demand for Naturland products from Sri Lanka increased more and more. The main products imported from Sri Lanka are now coconut products, spices (e.g. Ceylon cinnamon) and tea. Recently, the German market is also showing a growing demand for tropical fruits from Sri Lanka.
The colleagues Sandra Baumgardt (Naturland e.V.) and Marie Dunkert (Naturland Zeichen GmbH) informed the participants about current developments at Naturland. Among other things, they pointed out that the Naturland guidelines on social responsibility offer a great deal of added value to processors and producers alike, as they are an integral part of the Naturland production and processing standards and no other certifications for social accountability are required.
Another input from Naturland referred to the subject of biodiversity, its significance and the specific requirements stipulated in the Naturland production guidelines for tropical crops. Some examples of good practice to improve biodiversity in the field were shown. Sachindra Chathuranga, presenting the Small Organic Farmers Association (SOFA), also took up this topic in his guest presentation and gave encouraging examples from the work of the approximately 4,000 small farmers who are organised in SOFA. Dr. Sarath Ranaweera of BioFoods, one of the leading organic processors and exporters in Sri Lanka, presented developments and challenges for organic farming in Sri Lanka. Biofoods has recently set another milestone in organic pioneer work in Sri Lanka by producing and distributing the first certified organic fertilizer in Sri Lanka.