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africrops! Managing Director Meinolf Kuper travels to Cambodia for food security project

happy family with young moringa trees in Kampong Thom province

happy family with young moringa trees in Kampong Thom province

africops! advises a project by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for multisectoral food security in Cambodia, in short MUSEFO. The project, which is being implemented by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), aims to promote moringa as a dietary supplement for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under the age of two. Furthermore, it supports the cultivation of moringa trees for a sustainable contribution to nutrient-rich food security in the region.

Successful workshop with the project participants in Phnom Penh

Successful workshop with the project participants in Phnom Penh

Our Managing Director Meinolf Kuper has just returned from his trip to Cambodia in his capacity as an advisor for the cultivation and the use of moringa by small-scale farmers. In the capital Phnom Penh, he moderated a workshop for farmers, trainers, members of NGOs and the regional government. Following the workshop, the small farmers are now equipped with the necessary knowledge to plant and harvest moringa trees on their farms.

In addition to the so-called “home-based approach”, the moringa trees will soon be planted in schools and health facilities, where both students and patients can learn how to grow and use moringa as an ingredient in their daily meals.

Hartmut Blömker explains the concept for organic composting to the NTA inspector

Vocational Training in Organic farming for marginalised Namibian youths

Das kompetente Trainerteam der Ausbildungssfarm

The competent trainer team of the farm

Eine junge Frau der Khoisan Community, die begeistert ihr eigenes Beet bestellt

A young Khoisan woman, cultivating her field

Our Managing Director Dr. Heinrich Heinrichs travelled to Namibia for the second time this year to accompany the setting-up of a vocational training center in collaboration with the Namibian Training Authority (NTA) and the Komeho Development Agency. The training center is located in the Omaheke region in the East of the country and is accompanied on site by the africrops! vocational trainer for organic farming (Landwirtschaftsmeister) Hartmut Blömker.

Goal of the training center is to give young Namibians the opportunity complete a solid vocational training in the agricultural sector and earn a secure income. The trainees have been selected by the local authorities and stem from various marginalized communities, such as the Khoisan, who often encounter only limited opportunities for professional development.

Hartmut Blömker explains the concept for organic composting to the NTA inspector

Hartmut Blömker explains the concept for organic composting to the NTA inspector

Already in June 2018 the training farm was inspected by the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) and will be officially registered and funded as a vocational training center.

Dr. Heinrich Heinrichs mit Auszubildenden der Trainingsfarm

Dr. Heinrich Heinrichs with some of the trainees

africrops! has been playing a central role in the development of the training farm. Dr. Heinrichs and our africrops! agricultural expert and vocational trainer Hartmut Blömker developed an organic farming curriculum based on Namibian government specifications, so that the graduates of the training center will receive an official Namibian vocational training certificate. The implementation leans on the German model for dual education and training, whereby practical training is done directly on a functioning production site to generate an income from the sales of the produce. Mr. Blömker accompanies the build-up and start-up phase. The theoretical part takes place in the well-equipped seminar rooms of the center.

Dr. Heinrich Heinrichs mit Komeho-Leiterin Nelago Kasuto und Minister für Armutsbekämpfung Dr. Zephania Kameeta

Dr. Heinrichs with Komeho director Nelago Kasuto and Minister for Poverty Eradication Dr. Kameeta

Initially the trainees learn how to cultivate vegetables and Moringa oleifera. africrops! plays a significant role in this. As a buyer of moringa, we open a path for these products into global markets. To successfully compete in global markets and offer organically certified products, the organic certification of the training farm is envisaged for this year. At the same time, the development of local markets is also supported: The farm is not only intended to cover its own needs for vegetables, but aims at creating a sustainable income through the sale of high-value organic vegetables on the local market.

The Namibian government has welcomed the training farm with enthusiasm. The Ministry for Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has been inspired by this unique approach and aims to replicate the model in other parts of the country. The opening of the training farm is a further example of what can be achieved through developmental collaboration with local partners on eye-level!

Kolping Tansania

africrops! cooperates with Kolping for a new moringa project in Tanzania

Our Managing Director Dr. Andreas Wesselmann and East Africa Director Dr. Gelase Rugaimukamu together with the District Commissioner and representatives of Kolping Tanzania

Our Managing Director Dr. Andreas Wesselmann and East Africa Director Dr. Gelase Rugaimukamu together with the District Commissioner and representatives of Kolping Tanzania

Thanks to our expertise in the field of moringa cultivation, africrops! was approached by Kolping Germany with a request to conduct a feasibility study on moringa cultivation in Tanzania.

In recent years, the Kolping Vocational Training Institute in Hettstedt (Germany) has developed a caffeinated soft drink with moringa and baobab among the ingredients. In order to obtain high quality moringa in the long term, a joint project with Kolping Tanzania was initiated to set up a moringa farm in Tanzania. Kolping comprises a worldwide network of about 400,000 members in more than 60 countries. According to their own statements, Kolping members actively promote a socially just change in society.

The project in Tanzania comprises a number of objectives, including the development of moringa farmland and a so-called Center of Excellence. The center includes all basic steps in the production of moringa powder, such as harvesting, drying and grinding the moringa leaves. In addition, it will also serve as a training center where members of the Kolping family are trained in moringa cultivation, harvesting and processing. To ensure the sustainability of such a center by local trainers, the project includes a “training of trainers” programme.

The project is a typical example of the work of africrops!: our unique approach does not only focus on the purchase of raw materials, but also entails the active participation in setting up local production chains in Africa.

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africrops! at the World Food Convention 2018

This year’s World Food Convention was organized by the Tagesspiegel publishing house and focused on the key question: “How can we feed the world without destroying it?”. Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner and Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller were among the speakers of a high-level programme.

Our stand at the World Food Convention 2018

Our stand at the World Food Convention 2018

Special attention was paid to Africa and the topic of food security – areas in which africrops! is active right from its inception. For years, we have been promoting sustainable agriculture that cultivates high-quality agricultural products and creates new sales markets. In his speech, Federal Minister Müller called for fair trade and fair prices for African producers. We share this demand and are convinced that long-term business relationships can only be established and continued through fair trade at eye level with our African partners.

Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner Foto: Susanne Aschenkersbaumer, Tagesspiegel

Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner
Photo: Susanne Aschenkersbaumer, Tagesspiegel

Another topic of discussion was global malnutrition and the need to develop solutions to tackle it. Especially Moringa and Baobab offer a whole range of possibilities to counteract malnutrition in the affected countries. Thanks to its special nutritional profile, Moringa is already being used in some of our projects to combat malnutrition in Tanzania, Gambia and Namibia.

At our stand the nearly 500 participants were not only able to taste our delicious and healthy smoothies, but also learn a lot about the africrops! approach and the many projects on the African continent. Once again, we have proven that Baobab and Moringa are African premium products that are enjoying increasing popularity in both Africa and Germany.

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Baobab is THE new superfood

africrops! sources baobab directly from Africa where it is harvested under sustainable conditions by local farmers

africrops! sources baobab directly from Africa where it is harvested under sustainable conditions by local farmers

Although the baobab fruit has been used in its countries of origins since ancient times, it is only recently that health-conscious consumers in Europe have become aware of it. Containing a range of nutrients, packing large amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, iron and antioxidants along with other health benefits, the fruit has been touted as the new “superfood”.

Large supermarket chains all over Europe now stock baobab on their shelves, signaling that the product is becoming more mainstream. At africrops! we notice the same development, responding to an ever-increasing demand for baobab, not only as a bulk product but also for our “The Essence of Africa” baobab powder, which is available in major German supermarkets such as Rewe, Edeka and Alnatura.

Organic baobab powder from "The Essence of Africa"

Organic baobab powder from “The Essence of Africa”

The increased demand for baobab seems to be particularly strong in the UK, where the British food distributor Ocado reported an increase of 27% in weekly sales of baobab products since the beginning of 2018, according to the industry news platform “The Grocer”.

Product developers also seem to have discovered baobab as a great ingredient for various products. The British dairy company Yeo Valley now released a limited-edition Baobab-Vanilla yogurt, becoming one of the first major brands to use baobab as a main ingredient. This has created a very positive response among consumers. Thanks to its versatile nature, baobab is used in a wide range of goods such as gin, chocolate, dairy products and even beauty products.

With the demand for baobab growing, so is the concern for sustainable harvesting practices of the fruit. It is therefore important to ensure that the product is traded fairly and that its export does not jeopardize the availability and affordability of the fruit as a resource for the local population. At africrops! we make sure that our partners meet sustainable agricultural criteria and that the farmers receive a fair paycheck for their high-quality product.

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The africrops! approach was met with great enthusiasm at the 2nd German-African Diaspora Conference

Dr. Wesselmann während seines Vortrags über africrops!

Dr. Wesselmann during his presentation of africrops!

Our managing director Dr. Andreas Wesselmann recently travelled to Dortmund to present the business model of africrops! at the 2nd German-African Diaspora Conference.

The conference was organised by the Association of Cameroonian Engineers and Computer Scientists (VKII) and gave experts from various institutions the opportunity to discuss the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, their implementation and significance for development here in Germany and in Africa. This year’s conference focused on the SDGs aimed at the elimination of hunger (SDG 2), gender equality (SDG 5), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), reduced inequalities (SDG 10) and sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11).

The Essence of Africa products caught a lot of interest during the conference

The Essence of Africa products caught a lot of interest during the conference

During a discussion round on “best practices”, Dr. Wesselmann explained in detail the africrops! approach and the cooperation possibilities with farmers in Africa. He also outlined the necessary framework conditions that need to be met locally in order for the business model to work and establish long-term business relationships.

In many African countries, agriculture is rarely perceived as a profitable economic sector that can generate a sustainable income. Our aim is to change this perception and conferences like this help to achieve a shift in the mindset of the audience: immediately after the presentation, many of the participants approached Dr. Wesselmann and expressed their interest in working with africrops!. Concrete ideas for new projects are now being developed.

Please find more information about the conference here.

Tetteh

Former Ghanaian Minister visits africrops!

How can economic relations between West African countries and Germany be improved? This was the central topic of a discussion round between Hanna Tetteh and the africrops! management team in Berlin.

Hanna Tetteh together with the africrops! management team

Hanna Tetteh together with the africrops! management team

Ms. Tetteh is currently residing in Berlin at the invitation of the Robert Bosch Academy and takes part in the Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship programme. In Ghana, she worked as a lawyer and pursued a political career. In recent years, she served as a Minister for Economic Affairs and as Foreign Minister.

The lively discussion centred around the European Union’s free trade agreements with African countries – the so-called Economic Partnership Agreements – and possibilities for direct intervention of German Development Cooperation in the African private sector. Ms. Tetteh works on improving the local framework conditions so that more medium-sized German companies can enter the Ghanaian market and form partnerships with local companies and institutions.

Our guest was very impressed by the africrops! approach and would now like to encourage entrepreneurs in Ghana to grow Moringa in high quality, to then enter into a long-term business relationship with africrops!.

 

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africrops! at the inauguration of the Tanzanian office of the German Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Gelase Rugaimukamu, africrops! Coordinator for East Africa explaining the africrops! approach to Dr. Wansleben, Managing Director of the DIHK.

Dr. Gelase Rugaimukamu, africrops! Coordinator for East Africa explaining the africrops! approach to Dr. Wansleben, Managing Director of the DIHK.

On April 16, the new office of the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK) was opened in Tanzania. The expansion of the chamber’s network on the African continent is an important signal to the German business community and aims to promote trade with Tanzania offering a wide range of services. The ceremony was attended by a number of stakeholders and dignitaries, including Tanzania’s Ministers for Industry, Trade and Investments, DIHK and GIZ management, representatives of the BMZ, the BMWi and German-African Business Association, the German Ambassador to Tanzania and others.

Our Managing Director Meinolf Kuper & Dr. Rugaimukamu illustrate our commitment in Tanzania with the help of a delicious smoothie to GIZ CEO, Dr. Tanja Goenner.

Our Managing Director Meinolf Kuper & Dr. Rugaimukamu illustrate our commitment in Tanzania with the help of a delicious smoothie to GIZ CEO, Dr. Tanja Goenner.

As a German company engaged in long-term trade relations with Tanzania, africrops! stands for the kind of business approach the AHK is seeking to promote. africrops! was therefore asked to provide healthy moringa and baobab smoothies during the event. The catering was part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project with the GIZ to promote employment and income for moringa and baobab farmers in Tanzania. africrops! currently exports the products to Germany and distributes them under the brand “The Essence of Africa”. The event gave africrops! the opportunity to not only showcase the finished consumer products already familiar to German consumers, but also to inspire the marketing efforts of local producers within the Tanzanian market.

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Successful Biofach trade fair participation

IMG_2196In February 2018, africrops! exhibited at the organic trade fair “Biofach” in Nuremberg. The Biofach is the word’s leading trade show for organic products, attracting around 3,200 exhibitors and over 50,000 visitors. The fair is a great opportunity for companies to present their products and new innovations to an audience of retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers.

africrops! used this opportunity to showcase their premium “The Essence of Africa” product line and unique business philosophy. In addition to established products, africrops! also introduced their new moringa and baobab tablets. These will shortly be available to customers from “The Essence of Africa”. Thanks to their convenient format, they not only attracted interest from visitors that came to the africrops! booth, but were also one of the highlights at this year’s novelty stand.

Our East Africa Director Dr. Gelase Rugaimukamu flew in from Tanzania to inform clients about our product range.

Our East Africa Director Dr. Gelase Rugaimukamu flew in from Tanzania to inform clients about our product range.

This year already marked the fifth time that africrops! exhibited at the Biofach. The fair serves as a platform to introduce africrops! products to potential customers, develop business partnerships and to meet new project partners. The visitor numbers at the africrops! booth clearly show that the demand for certified organic plant products from Africa is increasing and that the premium quality “The Essence of Africa” products are highly appreciated by clients.

Not only the quality of the products but also our philosophy of fair trade on eye level with our African partners is an important argument for many customers. More and more companies are realizing the importance of sustainable and fair sourcing practices and are increasingly relying on suppliers such as africrops!.

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Successful organic certification in Namibia

Just before harvest, dust is removed from the leaves

Just before harvest, dust is removed from the leaves

In November 2017, africrops! Managing Director, Dr. Andreas Wesselmann travelled to Namibia to accompany our Namibian partner Komeho during the organic certification of their moringa fields. The focus of the inspection was to verify compliance of important processes and to ensure ecological compatibility and a high product quality. All requirements were successfully fulfilled and organic certification was awarded.

Receiving organic certification is an important step for local producers that want to access international markets, such as the EU. The growing demand for certified organic products allows the producers to negotiate better prices and realize higher profits.

Workers preaparing the drying process of the moringa leaves

Workers preaparing the drying process of the moringa leaves

The cultivated areas are located in northern Namibia, where the local San community grows the moringa plants. The San are an indigenous community that has historically been largely excluded from the national economy. As a result, unemployment is relatively high. The cultivation of moringa now offers the community a good opportunity to earn a stable income in an ecologically sustainable manner. But not only the newly created jobs benefit the community: As part of the project, a vocational education system that is adapted to organic farming will be developed.

africrops! Managing Director, Dr. Heinrich Heinrichs will travel to Namibia later this year to help support the development of the curriculum together with the Namibia Training Authority (NTA). Successful implementation will help support training on the moringa farms, but also promote organic farming standards and practices beyond this.