Baobab products “biomega”

At the BioFach in Nuremberg I met Martin A. Spaeth, founder and CEO of the company biomega from Austria. He imports natural plant materials, including fruit powder, leaves, oil and fibers of baobabs from Senegal and Burkina Faso. Several hundred tons of fruit are collected and processed locally into fruit powder and certified as organic by Austrian standards. The products are mainly sold on the European market, but expansion is sought to the US and worldwide.

biomega, Biofach

biomega, Biofach

Together with fruit collectors Späth built up production sites and established structures in Westafrica. He is committed to distribute baobab products internationally and wants to help local people in rural areas to create access to markets and thus income. The raw materials form the baobabs are processed locally. Therefore part of the value chain remains in the coutries of origin. According to Späth biomega is involved in the entire production process and cooperates with more than 100 villages.

Import regulations and standards

Trading raw materials of baobabs was not easy in the beginning. Baobab powder, for example, was relatively unknown on the European marked and not approved for import by the European Union. Importers had to undergo a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Since 2009 baobab imports into the EU are legitimized. The distributors know about the value of baobab products. The consumer market has yet to be developed – this takes time, says Späth.

Biomega follows self-imposed production standards. The aim is to ensure the consistent high quality of the products. In order to meet hygienic requirements, the fruit shells have to be undamaged and clean when collected, for example. Biomega expresses that they monitor the quality of the manufacturing process right from the beginning. One of the major reasons being that according to Späth the importer is liable for the quality of the products imported. If someone in Europe were to fall sick due to poor goods, Biomega could be held liable.

Economic Cooperation and Fairness

“We have nothing to give away – neither do they,” said Späth. He has chosen the path of economic cooperation and describes the trade relations with the partners as follows: As is common practice in Westafrica, market prices for the fruit are bargained. They are discussed directly with the collectors. Since baobab fruits are wild collections, the collectors are usually not organized in cooperatives to jointly enforce their interests – as is known from coffee production. The world market prices for this product are determined by auctions and the stock exchange.

As baobab fruit prices are negotiated locally, this interaction between producer and buyer has a positive effect on the confidence of the collectors, says Späth. In his opinion this reflects appreciation for the work. He does not think highly of donation of funds or development aid and is rather critical of subsidies. Although they are mostly well-intentioned, he says, they lead to a distortion of competition and a competitive advantage for those who can access funds. Biomega has observed consequences thereof: The market behavior becomes haphazard and prices are made arbitrarily since they cannot develop freely on the market. In these circumstances, sustainable activities are not possible according to Späth. Those who cannot access subsidies will not be able to compete on the long run.

Fairness in pricing, long-term partnerships and acting responsibly with respect to people and nature are further topics covered. For biomega fairness starts, where the sellers of baobab fruit decide to whom they sell their fruit, when, where and at what price. Späth believes in economic relations and trade that takes place on an equal footing with the producers and collectors. Local people today are not forced to sell to him. Baobab fruit has been traded for centuries on local markets and faces increasing demand from abroad. Customers for the fruit shoot up like mushrooms and biomega faces growing competition. Therefore, Späth emphasises the importance to invest in long-term business relationships and to maintain them.

A win-win for all involved

Not only the framework for producers and collectors is of interest but environmental sustainability for plants used as wild collections as well. Rising demand for the fruit increases the pressure to collect more and more. Too little is known about the reproduction of the baobab. In Senegal, the state intervenes by charging money for each truck load with baobab fruit, which is removed from a baobab area. The money is supposed to be used for nature protection and reforestation. Whether the government actually implements this plan cannot be answered sufficiently during the conversation.

Späth does not totally object projects to promote education or to ensure sustainability. This year biomega starts a two-year economic cooperation with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). The additional funds provided by biomega will finance planting projects and the implementation of training. In turn biomega will get 50% reimbursement of costs incurred for their extra effort. Späth stresses that this is not development aid but rather an investment into a win-win situation: he can establish stable supply chains for the company to meet the increasing demand of the customers while the rural population in Senegal maintains reliable sources of income.

20 Replies to “Baobab products “biomega””

  1. I am really interested into a business relationship where I can supply Organic Baobab Fruits to your firm.

    I am from East Africa, Kenya and am able to source for the fruit which are naturally available and some other organic fruits like Tamarind and Moringa which are available at various parts of the country.

    I would be glad to have further discussions with the persons concerned so that we can commence what I belief would be a fruitfull relationship with mutual benefits for all of us.

    Rgds
    Paul

    • Dear Paul, thank you for your comment. I am writing about baobab and neither selling nor buying baobab fruit. You would have to get in contact with companies who do so like “biomega” “Africrops” or others. Best regards, Heike

    • Hi there

      I am interested in your supply of baobab powder however i need to know if you make sure the baobab is processed hygienically and your lowest price per KG

      • RK,
        We source the baobab fruit from the wild in Kenya. The kennel must be intact and the processing of fruit to pulp is done manually in an hygienic manner to avoid contamination, and with no heat involved.
        Any Export of such would be accompanied by a Phytosanitary and health Certificate from government bodies.
        May be we can discuss further on email.
        Rgds

        • Dear Jackson Paul, thank you for your comment. This is a website with useful baobab information – not a marketing platform. Please contact respective people directly. Thank you.

      • Hi Fay,
        you’ll have to contact Paul directly – this is not Paul’s website but rather a platform with useful baobab information. Thank you for your understanding.
        Regards,
        Heike

        • Dear Mustafa,
          thank you for your comment. Please contact the buyers directly. This website provides information about Baobab and does neither buy nor sell products.
          Regards, Heike

      • Do help me with the contact details of any company that buys baobab fruits in large quantities in Kenya.

        • Dear Khamis Kabeu, please contact the buyers of baobab powder directly. This is a website with information about the trees only. Best regards, Heike Pander

  2. Am in Ghana and I can supply a large quantity of baobao fruit powder. Please can i get any help for a buyer for export. Thank you. (my mobile number is 00233242101532)

    • Dear Yakubu,
      thank you for your comment. This is a website with information about baobabs – I am neither selling nor buying baobab. You would have to get in contact with companies like “biomega” “africrops” or “aduna” to do so. Thank you. Best regards,
      Heike

  3. Please i would like to know buyers of baobab oil and products. I produce on a large scale. Even food supplements, including moringa and bissap (hibiscus). Thank you

    • Hello, where are you sourcing your baobab and bissap? I am in the process of starting a cosmetic company and I am interested in baobab oil and other African oils.

  4. hello dear
    my dissertation of M.Scdegree was in physico-chemical properties of Baobab seeds ( Adansonia digitata ) crude oil and its use in food frying .
    also i will supply adequate quantity of crude oil and baobab powder .
    i have patent of natural hair cream free of toxic substances produced from baobab oil with formal certificate .
    am from sudan .
    for any inquiring this my phone no ( 00966540259855 )
    whatsapp ( 00249122790606 )
    e.mail altayp1181@gmail.com
    am ready to export .

    • Hello dear Sir/Madam,
      thank you for your enquiry. Sorry, but I neither buy baobab powder nor sell it. All I do is writing about baobab.
      Best regards,
      Heike Pander

  5. I can supply large quantities of baobab fruit, powder and seeds. I’m a Kenyan. Contact me through 0725485174. Thanks.

    • Dear Khamis Kabeu, thank you for your message – I do not buy baobab powder. This is a website with information about the trees. You have to contact the buyers directly. Thank you & best regards, Heike Pander

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