What APPTA practices is nothing new. APPTA only puts the products, which were produced in the production system that was historically developed by the inhabitants of Talamanca, to the market. In this traditional production system, different species of fruits, root plants, and other plants are produced under the shade of trees.
Talamanca is rich in biodiversity. Nine of the twelve life zones of Costa Rica are counted in the area (Holdridge 1967) and 60% of the national fauna including between 35.000 and 100.000 kinds of insects, as well as 84 kinds of mammals, 141 of reptiles, 361 of fowls, 220 of butterflies and 227 of fish and marine organisms are found in the area. There also exists a great diversity of plants, many of which are found only in Talamanca.
This wealth of fauna and flora, combined with the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of the area has developed forms of production in which the ancestral culture is integrated to the natural wealth of the area. For years the Bribris and Cabécares have cultivated diverse produces in conjunction. Products such as corn, Yampí, yucca, tiquisque, and beans are cultivated together with bananas and plantains, under the shade of fruit-bearing trees such as palms of pejibayes and lumber trees. Often, this production system also consists of various domestic animals. This form of production, for an outsider, may appear without the "order" of conventional monoculture, but its wealth is the difference: it is an integrated system that permits one to live and produce in a sustainable manner. In this system the family produces a variety of fresh foods for consumption, while being able to produce to sell bananas and plantains on a regular basis. At the end of year they also generate income from the sales of cacao and lumber trees. Chonta and bindweeds are also used to build their houses.
This form of production, recaptured and strengthened now by means of 1)training processes, and 2)organization and marketing, is increasingly recognized as a rich production system in diversity and sustainability. It is a system with a rich diversity of wild animals, such as migrant fowls and mammals, in which a respectable quantity of insects, as well as an important variety of plants live.
The agro-ecological system, furthermore, 1) protects the soil from erosion and runoff, 2) helps to preserve the water, 3) incorporates organic matter in the soil, which in turn enriches the fertility and permits to develop a totally organic production system. More importantly, the families of producers maintain a productive relationship of respect and welfare with the nature, and feel as and be part of their conservation.
There is no doubt that with their traditions, their respect for the nature, and expanding knowledge the producers of Talamanca will continue to advance in the productive conservation of natural resources. They are an example for our country and for the world.
APPTA's rules of organic production are as follows:
- Work organically, without chemical.
- Practice agriculture that improves the fertility of soil, minimizes the loss of soil, protects the organisms that live in the soil, uses only organic materials and approved inputs, and protects the sources of water and animals.
- Use only organic seeds
- Harvest, process, and storage cleanly and naturally.
- Keep all the receipts of the organic product sales with APPTA, because inspectors will arrive to check the sales.
- Keep all the invoices of organic inputs bought outside of the property.
- The "Transitional Certification" is procured when a producer wants to convert a conventionally treated property into organic: 3 continuing years of chemical free agriculture need to be practiced to obtain the organic certificate.
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- Chemical input: fertilizer, plaguicides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, nematicides, growth enhancer (hormones).
- Seeds treated with chemical.
- Felling forest, burning trees, causing erosion and destruction of the lives in soil is prohibited and can provoke the loss of the certification.
- A chemically treated plot next to an organic plot, or a property where chemical is used in a part can not be certified either.
- Watering or washing products with contaminated water (of other chemically treated properties or black water of house).
- The means of transportation must be clean, pollution of the products with gasoline and oil need to be avoided.
- Killing animal with strychnine or anticoagulant poisons (rat poisons).
- Using boxes or sacks that once contained chemical products.
- Selling products of other properties that are not certified.
- Using a contaminated pump already used with chemical to apply organic materials.