14 February 2022
Organic Agriculture in Kosovo
From herbal ‘best sellers’ such as Chamomile, Peppermint, Fennel and Hibiscus, to the more exotic Lemon Myrtle, or medicinal Nettle leaf, our range of herbs for tea is carefully sourced from producers around the world, often with whom we have long standing relationships built over many years working together.
The search for two of our most popular herbs for tea (Chamomile and Peppermint), led us to Kosovo, a country that has seen considerable growth and progression in organic agriculture in recent years, where organic cultivation began in 2002, the same year in which the Organic Association of Kosovo (OAAK) was established. Consumer demand in the region and increasing interest in better quality, and organic ingredients has driven this growth, which in turn has been well supported by conditions in the area thanks to fertile soil, favourable agroclimate, an established policy framework, and traditional methods maintained by local farmers – all of which provide the perfect bedrock for organic agriculture.
This demand has resulted in a dramatic increase in the overall areas cultivated with organic products – in 2009, there were 5 hectares with organic medicinal and aromatic plants, whilst by 2020 this figure had increased to a total of 1,672 hectares of organic production including medicinal and aromatic plants (1,039.71 hectares), open field vegetables, existing orchards, wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, and sunflowers.
To help facilitate this growth, international help with knowledge-sharing, capacity building at an institutional level, and preparing legislative frameworks, has been vital – as well as the collaboration of regional organisations such as the Organic Association of Kosovo (OAAK), Organika, Initiative for Agriculture Development of Kosovo (IADK), as well as support from other significant parties such as USAID, Swiss-Caritas and GIZ.
The positive impact of the growing organic agriculture industry in Kosovo is demonstrable – with more than half the entire population of Kosovo living in rural areas with high unemployment rates, the injection of national and international funding to support the development of this sector has resulted in thousands of families being more financially stable. Young people with few prospects are now thriving and carving successful careers within the industry, and women who were previously uneducated and unemployed, are now empowered within the organic agriculture community to build their own businesses.
The development of the industry continues at pace, through the ongoing provision of training across all areas of organic agriculture – from propagation to drying and transportation, and equipment knowledge and usage, to irrigation systems.
Peppermint and Chamomile are two of the most cultivated medicinal and aromatic plant crops in the region, with agroclimate conditions being perfectly suited for their cultivation. Every year dozens of hectares of organic Chamomile are grown by our suppliers in the region, and we are delighted to be working with a producer of such high quality products. The Chamomile is ideal for packing into pyramid tea bags – uniform, small flower heads, very short stalks, and a sublime honey-sweet flavour, characteristics which combine to create an exceptional herbal tea ingredient.
Conditions in Kosovo provide the same perfect environment in which Peppermint thrives – the incredibly labour-intensive preparation and cultivation is worth the effort once the volume of yield is realised. The outstanding quality of this Peppermint is clear to us and our customers, one of whom said “We tasted a range of peppermints before selecting our current offering. It blew our socks off and our customers seem to love it too!”.
Working with suppliers that have the same passion, commitment, and ethics as us is at the heart of everything we do at Organic Herb Trading, and we are delighted to support farming communities all over the world to help build the ever-growing organic industry. Please take a look at our Products & Price List page for more information about our Kosovan Peppermint and Chamomile, or if you’d like to speak to our Sales Team about these, or any of our other products, please call +44(0)1823 401205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.