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A new raw material project by Wala

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Seven years ago, Ethiopian farmer Fekade Lakew joined forces with WALA Heilmittel GmbH and began cultivating Damask roses in keeping with the principles of biodynamic agriculture. This year he distilled the first batch of essential rose oil, which was also the very first in Africa to achieve organic quality. (Picture: Roses from Ethopia)

The rose farm Terra PLC is located in Debre Birhan, some 125 kilometres north of Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Abeba, at an altitude of 2900 metres. This high mountainous landscape is ideal for growing Damask roses: In the countries known for cultivating roses such as Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran roses bloom within four weeks and have to be harvested in this time, whereas they bloom for eight weeks in Debre Birhan. Therefore, is less pressure on the farmers to finish the harvest quickly; fewer rose pickers are needed, and what's more, they can be often be employed beyond the season itself. Furthermore, the quality of the roses can be monitored more closely during picking, and the output of the distillation unit is more consistent. Last but not least, Ethiopian highland roses offer yet another benefit: at four grams per blossom, they are nearly twice as heavy as the rose blossoms from other countries, which typically weigh 2 - 2.5 grams, Wala reports.

Wala provided motivation for the project by donating the rose cuttings and also a consultant in the field of biodynamic agriculture. The first certification audit, financed by Wala, was held this year in keeping with Demeter guidelines and the fair-trade standard “fair for life.” Recently, a distillation unit was installed as well. Fekade Lakew and his company are paid 7000 euros for a kilogram of essential rose oil. Approximately one hectare of roses is needed to obtain a kilogram of the oil which is used in nearly all Dr.Hauschka Skin Care products and in many WALA medicines. Wala has agreed to purchase all of the rose oil produced at the farm for a period of ten years. Wala employs around 800 people and generated sales of 104 million euros in 2011. (Picture: Rose picking)

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