Hotta Katsutaro Shoten Co., Ltd. Green Tea Wholesaler in Uji, Kyoto

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HOME > Organic Tea Products

Organic JAS Accreditation Standard:
Under this system, registered accreditation organizations (third-party organizations) authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan, certify tea plantation managers, manufacturers, packaging agents and importers. The certified parties inspect their own products in compliance with the JAS criteria and award Organic JAS marks to the products that meet the criteria. Products certified by JAS accreditation are of high quality since they meet rigorous organic product standards in all the processes, including cultivation, processing and storage.
Japan Organic and Natural Foods Association (JONA):
JONA is a member of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), a private organization established in 1972. The IFOAM, which currently has member organizations in 101 countries, provides a model for accreditation criteria for member organizations in respective countries. Moreover, IFOAM's standards substantially influence governmental standards, such as EU standard and CODEX Alimentarius Standards. Since most of the food and food items consumed within Japan are imported, JONA studies the state of organic cultivation in overseas countries and promotes organic cultivation not only in Japan but also in other countries of the world, so as to provide safe organic products to Japanese consumers.
The Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA): the world's largest private organization that accredits organic agricultural products. <Hotta Katsutaro Shoten is currently applying for its accreditation.>
OCIA is promoting cultivation of pesticide-free, organic agricultural products on a global basis. OCIA approves the use of OCIA certification marks on products that satisfy its criteria, which are the most rigorous in the world. OCIA sets criteria not only for agricultural products, but also for processed products and even for the soil of farms or plantations. In addition to the product quality, OCIA is committed to promoting safe and eco-friendly agriculture. Its membership exceeds 35,000 in at least 28 countries, with total area of accredited plantations reaching 2.5 million acres.

"Around 1970, a tea grower from whom we purchased tea leaves unexpectedly informed me that from the next day, he would stop using any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. At that time, few people were concerned about the use of agricultural chemicals. Even the term "organic cultivation" was not widely understood. Surprised, I felt like advising him to review his plan. Yet, listening to him, I began to understand his concerns about agricultural chemicals and the vital importance of introducing organic cultivation techniques. After talking with him, I began to collect data about organic cultivation. However, I was surprised at the magnitude of the risk involved in his plan."
"The tea grower began to convert his tea plantation to an organic one. The JAS Act stipulates that such a conversion entails a three-year period. No tea growers, however, had ever carried out such a conversion prior to that. There was no telling whether or not his plan would be successful. Impressed by his firm determination and extraordinary enthusiasm to initiate organic tea cultivation, however, I decided to support him with equally strong determination and enthusiasm. To convert the plantation, we sought advice from a member of an NPO called the MOA Nature Farming and Culture Agency."

"When he stopped using pesticide and chemical fertilizers, insects began to multiply and they ate up the leaves on his tea bushes. The plants become undernourished and no leaves could be harvested for some years. Although tea growers must wait at least several years until the soil becomes completely clean and free from pesticide contamination, many tea growers cannot wait and give up their plans during this stage. However, enduring this critical period is essential since the soil of plantations regains vitality only after this challenging process."

"From 1981 to 1988, the tea grower reduced the use of pesticide, but he did not achieve desired results. Subsequently, he became a member of the MOA Nature Farming and Culture Agency and abolished all use of pesticide. In 1992, he finally succeeded in converting his plantation into a fully organic one and received JONA accreditation from the Japan Organic and Natural Foods Association (as the first in green tea section). It took more than 10 years until the plantation was able to produce high-quality tea leaves."

"The tea grower had known that it would take many years before his plantation would regain outputs matching those of ordinary plantations. Being fully aware of the risk involved, he persuaded people critical of his plan to change their minds. Throughout the difficult years, he never wavered and never gave up his objective. His efforts were finally rewarded, and he opened a new path for organic tea cultivation."

"I am proud and happy that I have been engaged in organic tea cultivation together with this tea grower. I will continue to collaborate with him and many other tea growers who have begun organic cultivation in their tea plantations."