The saxonian state agency for agriculture (LfL) conducted a study with the subject "Analysis of organic production processes of spice and medical plants in Germany". The study was funded by the german federal ministry of consumer protection, food and agriculture. The LfL asked farmers and commercial partners about production quality and sales opportunities for organically grown medical and spice-plants.
Between 7/2002 and 10/2003 in total 66 farmers were interviewed representing an area under cultivation of spice and medical plants of 704 ha. Growing of medical and spice plants occurs mostly on small fields (4 - 10 ha) with a wide range of plant species (n = 108). The extensive analysis of 142 production processes of different spice and medical plants (n = 44) delivers valuable information on the optimal configuration of growing and post harvest treatment processes. In addition the distribution channels were analyzed.
However also problems with the production processes arose from the analysis. One main problem is the marginal number of available varieties of the different spice and medical plant species. Furthermore the organic production process is characterized by a high input of mechanical and manual work. A shortage in plant protection possibillities was mentioned as a problem in some species. Problems with the harvest occur mainly in leaf and blossom products.
Problems occur in all post harvest treatment steps like insufficient temperature regulation possibillities, problems with the elemination of weed and grass seeds and with the separation of anorganic constituents during the cleaning process.
The main customers of processed products are corporate clients like wholesalers, cooperatives or drugmakers. The customers were satisfied with quality of organically grown spice and medical plants from german production. Farmers and industrial partners were optimistic that the acreage of organical grown spice and medical plants will expand in Germany.
The project results give pro