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Fennel cultivation in harmony with Nature

Acclaimed as the medicinal plant of 2009, fennel has also maintained its position among the ten most popular articles in the product spectrum of the Martin Bauer Group again this year. Like many other botanicals in the portfolio, fennel is also covered by the Group's commitment to controlled, integrated cultivation when purchasing raw materials. This means doing without chemical pesticides to a great extent and establishing long-standing cooperations with contract farmers based on a spirit of partnership. Fennel farming is just one example of the sustainable botanical policy and holistic commitment of the Martin Bauer Group, a member of the worldwide operating "the nature network®".

"Fennel, or bitter fennel to be more precise, is one of Martin Bauer's ten most important cultivation products," according to Adrian Kranvogel, from the company's Growing/Cultivation department. "We purchase a large proportion of the botanicals processed in our manufacturing facilities every year to produce teas or extracts, for example, from our contract farmers. They all undertake a commitment to the controlled integrated cultivation concept." The prerequisites for this form of contract farming are clearly defined within the Martin Bauer Group: the farmers sow nothing but clearly defined seeds and are bound to comply with official, national directives, as well as particularly stringent quality requirements laid down by Martin Bauer. "Our suppliers avoid the use of pesticides to the greatest extent possible by means of extra manual work, for example," Adrian Kranvogel explains. "However, if the use of pesticides is unavoidable under exceptional circumstances, our suppliers are obliged to consult us first. We give them advice regarding the choice of pesticide, suggest harmless alternatives that do not leave any residual traces in the fennel and analyse the incoming product particularly carefully."

Advantages for suppliers, staff and customers

The cooperative ventures between the Martin Bauer Group and its partners are characterised by long-term agreements on delivery quantities, prices, quality and documentation, as well as a climate of trust that has become established and grown over the years. "We satisfy ourselves that our partners adhere to all agreements and guidelines by visiting them in person at regular intervals: a member of the Martin Bauer team inspects every field two to four times a year," Kranvogel adds. It doesn't start there though, a company wishing to join the group of fennel farmers who work for the Martin Bauer Group has to undergo a comprehensive C.I.C. audit (C.I.C. = controlled integrated cultivation). Apart from a meticulous examination of the various stages in the cultivation process, the audit also investigates the way in which a potential supplier treats his staff: Are they paid enough? What are the hygienic conditions like? Are the occupational health and safety regulations observed? "Controlled integrated cultivation offers a consistent, sustainable fennel purchasing concept that also eliminates the possibility of unwanted residues," Adrian Kranvogel sums up. "We are therefore able to offer our customers botanicals, which have been produced under ideal ecological conditions. And these are becoming increasingly important to the consumer as well."

Holistic responsibility

Sustainable fennel cultivation is just one of the projects that demonstrates the nature network®'s active commitment to the environment and mankind. In this respect, the Group always pursues a holistic approach. This means that, within the nature network®, Holistic Corporate Responsibility not only includes a botanicals purchasing concept with a commitment to strict environmental protection directives. The company also assumes responsibility for its personnel, makes sure that relationships with business partners are fair and becomes involved in a wide range of social projects at regional and national level.

Like many other botanicals in the portfolio of the Martin Bauer Group, fennel is purchased completely in accordance with the controlled integrated cultivation concept. Although primarily cultivated in the Mediterranean region, fennel is also grown in Germany and Eastern Europe.