practices that will maintain or improve
the natural resources of the operation.
As crop rotation is not a feasible option
in coffee production, growers will plant
permanent sod cover between rows to
promote biological habitat, improve soil
organic matter and, most importantly,
help prevent erosion.
When cultivation practices are not
sufficient for the nutrient needs of the
plantation, growers have several options.
While composted plant and animal materials are allowed, NOP has also set
forth specific standards on synthetic and
non-synthetic fertility inputs for general
crop production. Sections 205.600-
205.606 of NOP is the National List of
Allowed and Prohibited Substances,
which is broken down into allowed and
prohibited substances for crop production, livestock production and processing.
Pest Management: When it comes to
pest, weed and disease prevention, the
standards are similar to those in place for
fertility management. Pests may be con-
trolled through cultivation and sanita-
tion practices along with mechanical
traps and lures. Biological methods such
as the introduction of predators and par-
asites and development of habitat for
natural enemies of the pest are also al-
lowed and encouraged. When these
methods are not effective and a suitable
non-synthetic substance is not available,
growers may consult the National List
for allowed synthetic substances.
Organic Processing Principles
Unlike most other coffee certifications, the verification process does not
stop at harvest. All coffee berries must
be harvested and handled in accordance
with NOP standards. Growers must develop procedures to ensure only coffee
from certified plantations or the certified
section of split operations is harvested.
This is where it becomes critical that
plantation boundaries are clearly identified. Field maps help ACAs and inspectors easily identify organic boundaries
As most coffee is harvested by hand,
plantation managers must ensure that
any container or bag used during harvest
has not previously contained or been
treated with prohibited substances. To
eliminate the potential for contamination, virgin or dedicated bags and bins
should be used. If any of these previously contained non-organic material, an
adequate cleaning step is necessary to remove the non-organic material or
residue that may be present. Often color-coded, these bags or bins must be identifiable as containing organic coffee in
storage and during post-harvest activities.