In February of this year I was at the BioFach 2018 in Nurnberg, Europe’s largest organic food market. Then you immediately think threehuggers, greenies and purple overalls. Nothing of that. In all my wisdom I called on social media that the organic sector was taken over by men in suit. I should not have done that. Their revenge was sweet and ohhh they were fast!

When I started importing Buchu in 2015, I knew everything about electronic payments, but nothing about importing and logistics processes. My  digital transport of Euro’s to South Africa was just a little trick, but getting the Buchu to the Netherlands was a completely different story.

The first cargo still went with air freight. It was not too much and I wanted it quickly. Then the shipments followed by boat. In spite of my lack of knowledge, it actually went fairly smoothly, and I got a lot of support from my shipping agent. I already had my own checklist. Actually it went smoothly until last February. Ehhh wasn’t that the same time as BioFach 2018?

I got a mail from my agent who indicated that the cargo was in and if I wanted to mail the organic certificates. I sended the Skimmelberg certificate to the agent. No, no, he meant my certificate. That was a pity, I did not have one. As a result, they were not allowed to present the goods to customs and had to hold it in the hangar until I presented them my certificate.

After a chat with the SKAL Bio Control, the certifying organization in the Netherlands, it soon became clear to me that the certification would take at least a month or two. I received a new checklist, which I needed to complete step by step. I had to draw one business process after the other.  A procedure for entry control, mass measurements, a complaints procedure, a plan for the warehouse. separating conventional (ie non-organic articles) and organic products and so on. It actually became a real company.

On April 26, the inspector of SKAL Bio control would come for a (minimum) 2 hour inspection. After a little over 2 hours, he indicated to be satisfied. I relaxed and  opened a bottle of Vonkel (the South African version of Champagne) at home and drank it with my wife.

Thursday, May 3, the original certificate came in by mail. I could open an account in the European portal (TRACES) and make a request to release my tea. We now are NL-BIO-01

The webshop is a bit customized. There is a button Organic added in the menu, in case you only want organic tea. You will also see the picture below for each organic product. Then you can be sure that it is organic.

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