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BioTropic launches farming projects

BioTropic is pursuing projects to develop organic farming and sourcing finished goods, as well as continuing their import activities over four continents and many countries. 

The company which is based in Duisbourg, helps small producers from developing countries that are normally in a cooperative to export their organic products and supporting them in crop development programs.


BioTropic offers a large range of products from organic fruit and vegetables to corn syrup and avocados. These come from Mexico, Peru or South Africa. The grapes come from Italy, Chile or South Africa. Ginger is produced in China and Peru. Citrus fruits are from Spain, Italy and also South Africa. The large variety of origin and different climates mean that they can ensure a supply of products year round.

In 1997 BioTropic was created by a few German organic wholesalers (including Naturkost Elkershausen, Terra Berlin, Naturkost Bois). The company had a €61 million turnover in 2013.

 The vast administrative three-storey building can be found on their site in North Duisbourg, as well as 6,000m2 of warehouses, cold rooms, banana ripening rooms, packaging lines and a dry product warehouse. 20 loading/unloading ramps allow them to deal with merchandise on a daily basis.

When BioTropic was created, it’s aim was to openly and independently import food from subtropical, tropical and Mediterranean areas. 

The first products to be imported were organic bananas. Little by little the variety of imported products increased and they now import almost the whole range of fresh products from the main production zones worldwide. BioTropic currently employs 50 or so personnel worldwide, of which 5 are agricultural engineers and 1 nutritionist.

The training of producers in South America, Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean is based on subjects concerning organic farming, processing and export.

Be it bananas, or mangoes, the products arrive by sea to Europe, at the ports of Rotterdam or Anvers where they are transported to the warehouse in Utrecht. The wholesale products are then sent on pallets directly to clients all over Europe, except bananas which go directly to the ripening unit in Duisbourg. 

The bananas come from the Dominican Republic and travel by sea for 11 days. Other fruit from other countries in South America take up to two to three weeks to arrive in Europe. 

Pineapples, mangoes, coconut and cashew nuts from West Africa travel for a maximum of 14 days. The longest journey is for fruit from Asia and New Zealand which can take up to 5 weeks.

Many years ago, as well as their subsidiary in Holland, the company added offices and warehouses in the biggest European hubs such as Perpignan (turntable for merchandise from Morocco, Spain and France) and Cesena in North Italy (merchandise from Italy and Greece) to be closer to production zones.

In order to guarantee reliability and quality, the company have set up their own farming and export structures in the main tropical fruit production regions such as the Dominican Republic, the Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso. 

BioTropic called on PPP’s (public-private partnerships) with help from the BMZ in Berlin (Minister of Development Aid). 

These PPP’s benefited from financing aid in development bank DEG and the SEQUA GmbH, covering almost 50% of the projects costs. The aim was to improve organic farming in the regions mentioned, train small country farmers in organic farming and introduce them to the question of renewable energy.

 These public-private partnerships are important for the West African countries where, despite the existence of a few certified cooperatives, access to export markets remains restricted. 

Thanks to BioTropic, the cooperatives, instead of being abandoned once the development aid has finished, are in an established, long-term, sustainable partnership.

Since 2012, BioTropic has opened an educational, research park that spreads out over 20ha. As well as the 600m2 greenhouse, there is room to grow all types of native vegetables. 

They also have a banana research unit, a composting plant, a modern used water treating factory, a wind turbine, a photovoltaic system, a fish breeding pond and a modern training centre. The aim is to introduce all of the students to organic farming, renewable energy and protection of the environment.


An organic pineapple producing partnership in the Ivory Coast between 2008-2010 was a great success. 

Kuemkwong Siemefo is the agricultural engineer for the Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso. 

Originally from Cameroon, he has lived and studied in Germany since 1992. 

Since 2006 he has been in charge of BioTropics imports from Africa. As there were no adequate organic farming structures, Mr Siemefo decided in 2007 to set up numerous farming and export structures as part of a public-private partnership.

As PPP’s, BioTropic has also set up a number of structures in the health and social sector. Conferences on fighting malaria and AIDS were organised. The aim of BioTropic is to ensure farmers an income all year-round, outside of harvest season. With this in mind, they produced dried mangoes and processed cashew nuts since 2013 . 

This year they intend to introduce the farmers to pineapple drying, which will then be exported as a healthy product.

All of the small producer cooperatives in West Africa work with BioTropic, producing fresh mangoes, pineapples, coconuts and cashew nuts. Imports from these countries began at 0 in 2007 and now reach 2,500 tons in 2013, the equivalent of 125 containers.

BioTropic receives one or two pineapple containers a week in Germany. Mangoes come from the Ivory Coast, Mali or Burkina Faso depending on the harvest period. They are shipped to Europe from Abidjan by Ivore Organics. In Senegal, where organic mangoes are also grown, the Director General of the cooperative Buur Sine, Amacodou Diouf, is responsible for organising mango exports as well as many social projects such as helping in schools, hospitals and women’s groups. Fruit from Senegal is shipped from Dakar.

Publication date: 1/9/2015

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Come this summer pamper your loved ones abroad with a box of delicious mangoes through DHL’s Express Easy Mango service, a unique one-stop-shop and hassle-free service for gifting mangoes all across the world.

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