From lawyer to spice trader
Hardly anyone in this country thinks about the quality and fair trade of exotic spices such as pepper, cinnamon and vanilla. In Zanzibar, however, local spice farmers are struggling for their livelihood, while powerful large-scale producers are earning a fortune. A young Swiss wants to change that.
Watch the trailer (german):
Raphael Flury is recruited directly from a Zug business law firm to Zanzibar to set up a company in the highly competitive spice trade environment. The 30-year-old lawyer has a vision: he wants to revolutionize the traditional spice trade.
While Fairtrade is increasingly demanded in other areas of trade, awareness of it is still low when it comes to spices. Large individual producers still dominate the market and flood it with cheap products of barely declared origin. While they are making a killing, local spice farmers are struggling to survive.
Raphael Flury wants to change that by selling fresh organic spices directly to Europe. In doing so, he kills three birds with one stone. The farmers earn more money because the numerous middlemen are eliminated. The natural spice forests are protected from deforestation through sustainable production, and customers get fresher spices, thanks to direct transport routes. Competitors' products, on the other hand, are in transit for up to five years and are blended together from many growing regions.
"SRF DOK" delves into the depths of the fairytale spice forest, where farmer Bakari pollinates vanilla blossoms by hand and rolls perfectly shaped cinnamon sticks, while daredevil climbers harvest cloves in airy treetops. In the exporting country, the goods are received at the spice store La Cucina.
"SRF DOK" goes to Germany for the industrial processing of the cloves into Jägermeister and witnesses the professional use of the award-winning, Zanzibari pepper by celebrity chef Markus Arnold. Raphael seems to strike a chord with his strategy, as he already has more orders than spices.
With the surprising request of a new major customer, he is under pressure, because the capacity of Zanzibar's natural spice forests is already exhausted. If he does not want to endanger the ecological balance, he urgently needs new cultivation areas. In eastern Tanzania, in the untouched cloud rainforests of Usambara, Raphael Flury sees opportunities for expansion. But the area is hardly developed logistically and corrupt authorities oppose Raphael's plans.
Marriage to partner Saphira, who accompanied him to Zanzibar, is imminent, which further absorbs him. Will he manage to build up his social enterprise in Africa without being torn between ethical demands and market pressure? Fair trade, careful use of resources and social responsibility are pressing issues that are increasingly challenging and affect us all.