Aus Kollegen Freunde

Bambuskisten für Ruandas Farmer – Ein Glüsinger packt mit an


Es gab auch was zu lernen: Bambusmatten für zu Hause

africrops! steht für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Dazu gehört, dass sich unsere afrikanischen Partner von Spendengeldern unabhängig machen. Und das geht nur, wenn sich die Organisation wie eine Firma aufstellt, also mit einem gehörigen Sinn für Unternehmergeist.

Ruanda besitzt große Mengen an Bambus, schöpft dieses Potential aber bei weitem noch nicht aus. Also haben wir die ansässigen Bauernverbände davon überzeugt, Bambuskisten für ihre Produkte zu nutzen. Vorher hatten sie nur zwei Möglichkeiten: Tomaten im Sack zum Markt transportieren – 20 % kommen an, 80 % ist „Ketchup“ – oder für teures Geld chinesische Plastik-Kisten kaufen.

Zusammen mit der Organisation Dream Village wurden nun Bambuskisten produziert, die genau den Wünschen der Farmer angepasst sind. So ist beiden geholfen, der Organisation Dream Village und den Bauern.

Bambuskisten fertig

Bambuskisten fertig produziert und bereit für die ruandischen Farmer.

Die Idee ist eine Sache, die Umsetzung eine andere.

In der Woche vom 21. bis 25. Juni begleitete uns Frank Heinrichs, Handwerker aus dem niedersächsischen Glüsingen in der Lüneburger Heide, nach Kigali und sah sich den Bauhof an. Sein spontanes Urteil: „So geht das gar nicht!“ Also wurde erstmal gemeinsam aufgeräumt und das Gebäude gesichert. „So lässt es sich doch schon viel besser arbeiten. Die haben hier eine Goldgrube, wenn es ordentlich gemacht wird!“

Vergessen wird Frank Heinrichs die Reise so bald nicht. Seine ruandischen Kollegen sind schnell seine Freunde geworden und fragen schon, wann er wiederkommt. Und dann wird die „Bude“ wieder in Schuss gebracht!

So sind sie, die Glüsinger: Nicht lang schnacken – anpacken!

Tanzanian Businesswomen visit africrops! in Berlin

Group picture with the Tanzanian businesswomen in Berlin

Group picture with the Tanzanian businesswomen in Berlin

“Female Entrepreneurs Meet German Private Sector” – this was the motto of a visit to africrops! by a group of 10 Tanzanian businesswomen who run successful small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector.

Meinolf Kuper in talks about future cooperation

Meinolf Kuper in talks about future cooperation

The visit took place as part of a business trip to Germany organised by the Tanzanian Country Office of the German Delegation of Industry and Commerce. It was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The aim of the trip was to promote Tanzanian women entrepreneurs in their business activities so that they can contribute profitably and independently to the local economy in the future. The company visits aim to establish new business networks, gain access to new technologies and help the businesswomen familiarise themselves with an industrialised business environment.
Dr. Andreas Wesselmann discusses with the participants the africrops! approach and opportunities for African products in Europe

Dr. Andreas Wesselmann discusses with the participants the africrops! approach and opportunities for African products in Europe

On the programme were further visits to German companies, including to a company that is involved in the packaging of africrops! products. The participants can get an idea of the processes involved in packaging and filling according to German quality standards. These insights should help the women to optimize the processing of agricultural products back in Tanzania.

The main purpose of the round table discussion in the africrops! office was to familiarise the participants with the africrops! business approach and to show them that high-quality African organic products can generate a great demand on the German and European markets. Furthermore, ideas were collected as to what a potential cooperation could look like and whether the represented entrepreneurs could become future suppliers for us.

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.

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!

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.

Joint stand at the Saba Saba Trade Fair in Tanzania

German Ambassador Dr. Detlef Wächter together with our East Africa Director Dr. Rugaimukamu

German Ambassador Dr. Detlef Wächter together with our East Africa Director Dr. Rugaimukamu

africrops! was represented at this year’s Saba Saba trade fair together with the certification authority Kiwa BCS at the German joint stand. The stand was supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics. With almost 2,500 exhibitors and around 500,000 visitors, Saba Saba is Tanzania’s largest international trade fair. It took place for the 42nd time in Dar-es-Salam from 28 June to 8 July 2018.

Our joint stand enjoyed great interest among the visitors

Our joint stand enjoyed great interest among the visitors

The agricultural sector in Tanzania and East Africa in general is growing steadily. In addition to the local market, many producers are seeking opportunities to export high-quality agricultural products to Europe. Organic certification according to European standards serves as a door-opener to access these new markets. In addition, the higher selling prices for organic produce benefits local farmers.

As a company that offers advice to local farmers and at the same time imports organically grown plant products, africrops! considers cooperation with a reputable certification body as very important. The joint appearance with Kiwa BCS served the primary goal to illustrate the organic certification process to visitors using the example of moringa and baobab. At the same time, the special business approach of africrops! and the work in Tanzania was presented.

The German Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr. Detlef Wächter, was also very interested in the africrops! approach and the cooperation with Kiwa BCS. The presence of German companies in Tanzania is highly appreciated by representatives of the Tanzanian politicians and the business community. The “German Pavilion” was named the best foreign stand at the Saba Saba trade fair by the Tanzanian Prime Minister.

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.

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.

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.

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!.