This morning we met with Micaela Cabrera and Angel Mujica of BioLatina, a Latin American agricultural certifier. Organic certification is an important piece of our business idea, since we are looking to provide a local, organic fertilizer to organic Quinoa farmers looking to export. There are very strict norms to abide by in order to gain organic certification to export to various different countries or through different standards.
BioLatina recently finished a certification project with Alpacas in the Altiplano, so they have the experience working with camelids that we need. They provided us a lot of good information such as:
- It takes one year for the organic “transition” to happen with an animal vs. 3 years with agriculture
- Manure is not always organic. You have to look at what the animals are being medicated, fed, where they graze, etc.
- It is very hard or impossible to find compost made with USDA standards in Bolivia
- They do inspections once a year
- The cost of the certification is $200 USD/ year, plus the daily rate of the certifier of $150 USD a day (this depends how large of a landscape he will certify) plus travel costs of the certifier.
BioLatina works in many countries in Latin America, and in addition to the USDA organic certification, it provides Canada Organic Regime, JAS (Japan), the European Union organic certification, UTZ, Starbucks, Climate Change, Global G.A.P.
Overall, it was great to have information on what the process is like to certify llama manure and what the process would look like for us and our venture.