Organic Fair Trade: Farming
For Émile Noël, organic fair trade farming is above all smart, respectable farming.
Growing more effectively, for them and for us.
In conjunction with the OHVN, Émile Noël is engaged in a strategy of building awareness, providing information, empowering and giving technical support to the programme's partner producers: natural yield improvements (production and employment of compost, etc.), sowing and growing methods and timing (trenches to fight weeds, thinning to retain the best stalks, use of seed spreaders and cords, etc.), results-based investments in equipment (for 100 tonnes produced, the oil mill funds the construction of a warehouse for the producers and offers an oil mill for the women). The knowledge shared also benefits the farmers' food crops.
Sharing seeds – a natural gestureÉmile Noël entrusts the organic sesame seed to the producers when they are brought into the programme. In subsequent years, the oil mill lets the farmer keep four to five kilos of seed for every 150 to 300 kg of sesame produced, which amounts to free organic seed.
Organic farming in Mali is enriched with a living tradition of solidarity.For millennia growers in Mali have been using a crop rotation system that is highly suited to organic farming. From season to season the plots, whose average size is about one hectare, are successively planted with millet, sesame, sorghum, maize, beans and ground nuts before lying fallow. This method, combined with the natural fertilisers derived from husbandry or composting activities, preserves and nourishes the soil.
Land management follows a well-established system which incorporates individual use and collective ownership: each village is organised around a water source and its founding family is responsible for the land, which consists of several plots.
Priority is given to the food crops (millet, sorghum) that provide nourishment for each family, then come the cash crops for Émile Noël. In a climate of stable solidarity, the village community is governed around the talking tree during council meetings where each producer is represented.
Certified, guaranteed organic products, from there to here.Every plot of organic sesame conforms to the technical specifications established by the certifying bodies (Écocert, Biosuisse, etc.) in accordance with international regulations on organic agriculture, notably from Europe and the United States. No sesame may be grown within less than 200 meters of a cotton field and phytosanitary treatments are prohibited.
To ensure the traceability of organic production, each farmed plot is assigned a code and is subject to three verification sequences:
1 >> An internal control sheet, which is filled out each year by OHVN agents in the presence of the producer and village coordinator, to ensure that the parcel can be certified organic (history of crops and treatments, distance from treated plots, etc.).
2 >> An audit by the certifying body, which spends at least two weeks physically inspecting 30% of the plots each year.
3 >> The examination by Émile Noël and the OHVN of the plot code, the intention list and the purchasing sheet to ensure that the volume reported by the producer, the land area farmed and the volume purchased are all consistent.
Finally, a pesticide analysis is conducted by an independent laboratory on every container taken to Bamako. The sample consists of small quantities taken from 10% of the sacks that comprise the container.
Over the programme's 10 years, only six traces of just 2 to 3 micrograms per kilo have been detected on a total of more than 12,000 tonnes of sesame: a top-notch performance.