Production Process

Difference between conventional yerba mate and organic yerba mate

Organic agriculture is a production system that is free of pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers, promoting the sustainability of systems and the care of natural resources. Synonyms for organic include biological and ecological.

The Cooperative has organic production certification programs differentiated according to the final market where the product will be sold:

• Argentina / European Union
• United States / Canada



Since Yerba Mate is a perennial or multi-annual crop, the plantation must go through a transition period of 36 months from the last application of a prohibited product or practice not permitted by the standards, to begin to be treated as a 100% organic crop.


Methods of isolation with neighbors or neighboring plantations must be implemented, for example: a physical barrier or a buffer zone to prevent potential risks of contamination in the organic production area.

It should be noted that plants that are found within the buffer zone cannot be considered as organic production.

The isolation method must be evaluated in relation to specific characteristics of the crops, topography, and potential risks of contamination for the area in question.


In perennial crops to maintain or increase the content of organic matter, fertility, microbial activity, and soil health in general, it is necessary to maintain vegetation cover in the inter-rows (lines), for example, leguminous species or maintenance of weeds that provide biodiversity to the system.

Weed management can be done mechanically (machete cutter, plow) or manually (motoguadaña, machete, shovel).

The loss of the top layer of soil should be minimized through minimum tillage, crop selection, maintenance of green covers and other soil conservation practices, to avoid erosion and promote nutrient recycling.


The basis of the fertilization program should be formed by biodegradable materials of microbial, vegetable, or animal origin.

The materials for fertility applied to the land or crops must comply with those permitted after control of their origin and composition.


At the beginning of the certification process, producers must present to the certifying entity (OIA) the background of the lot where the yerba mate plantation will be located and a descriptive memory of the treatments carried out during the last three years.

Records must be kept that allow the origin, nature, and quantity of all inputs and their use to be located.

Neighbors must be informed which lots are intended for organic production.

Periodic records of plantations, work, harvests, production plans, and analyses must be kept.

Records must be kept on everything related to numbers of batches /lot of the production (green yerba mate leaf) sold as organic or in transition to organic production to guarantee the traceability of the raw material that will then be processed in the dryer.

Organic yerba mate producers must annually submit to an inspection by the certifying entity. Inspectors visit the plantations and require the presentation of the previously mentioned records.


The Cooperative, in coordination with organic yerba mate producers, determines the exclusive period for harvest and receipt of green organic leaf in the dryer, to ensure that the raw material that enters the drying process during that time period is strictly organic and that there is no crossing with conventional green leaf.

For the harvest of organic yerba mate, workers must use previously sanitized tools (scissors, saws, chain saws), as well as exclusively used puncheons for organic green leaf, and the transport of raw material to the dryer must be made in clean transport that is used exclusively for transporting organic green leaf during the harvest period of yerba mate coming from organic yerbales.

Primary Processing - Drying


The raw material of an organic processed product, in our case, the green leaf received in the dryer, must be certified organic.

All processes must be carried out in establishments approved by the relevant authority.


The dryer must process and identify the raw material, green organic yerba mate leaf, in such a way that there is no danger of mixing with conventional green leaf or substances not permitted by the organic processing standards.

The potential sources of contamination of organic product must be identified and all necessary preventive measures must be taken to avoid them, including cleaning and disinfection processes for equipment and facilities.

Only new bags should be used when packing the intermediate product, canchada yerba mate.


The dryer, as a certified establishment for the processing of organic products, is subjected to periodic inspections and must keep records of the entrance of certified raw material, processing, exit of organic canchada to the warehouse, cleaning and pest control to ensure the organic integrity of the intermediate product that is then stored for 12 to 18 months before being processed in the mill for its commercialization.


For the storage of organic canchada yerba mate (intermediate product), there must be exclusive warehouses and it must be carried out in such a way that it ensures the maintenance of the quality, identity and integrity of the product, with strict and constant controls of humidity and pests.


The transport of canchada yerba mate from the warehouse must be made in clean transport that is used exclusively for transporting bags of organic canchada yerba mate.

Milling and Packaging Process


In the milling process, we implement an organic integrity program, identifying the Organic Critical Control Points (OCCP) in order to avoid mix-ups or potential contaminations between raw materials or products of different status (organic / conventional).

The main measure implemented to avoid contaminations or mix-ups is the Organic Purge. What does this purge consist of?

  1. Remove from the loading platform that feeds the mill hopper all the bags of canchada that contain conventional product and then vacuum the dust and leaf that usually spills on the floor.
  2. Empty the silos that contain the components of conventional yerba mate.
  3. Vacuum the four sieves and the four component silos.
  4. Grind approximately 4 bags of organic canchada yerba mate to achieve a cleaning of the conventional product that usually remains in the production line, this yerba loses its organic characteristic and is treated as conventional.
  5. Extract the organic product used to clean the production line and set it aside for reprocessing as conventional product.
  6. Execution of the standardized procedure for the milling of organic product signed by the mill operator, the sector chief, and the plant chief.
  7. Packaging of organic yerba mate in 500g packages.

Once the final product YERBA MATE PAMPA ORGÁNICA is packaged, the boxes containing the 500g packets are transferred to the finished product warehouse awaiting dispatch for commercialization. In this warehouse, racks are designated for exclusive use for packaged organic products, properly labeled and protected with plastic covers to avoid contact with conventional products.