The best ideas in life often do not come about at work and so it happens that two decisive impulses that led to the founding of africrops! are associated with a cold beer in the garden.
For the first one, the idea to reshape the classic giver-taker dynamics of development work came about as Dr. Heinrich Heinrichs and Meinolf Kuper discussed their daily work in Tanzania during a Kili baridi (a well-chilled Kilimanjaro beer). New relations were required in which all sides could approach each other on eye-level. This much was already clear in 2010. Also they had an idea what many regions in Africa could offer: Moringa!
For the second one Heinrich, his son Fabian and Fabian’s wife Erika got together for a cold one in the garden, as he visited them in New York in 2011 and told them about the unusual plant Moringa.
When he had first been told about Moringa, the “miracle tree” the plant physiologist had reacted skeptical. However, the more he researched it, the more he realized that this plant and its nutritional profile was indeed exceptional.
Erika, being a true entrepreneur did not hesitate and convinced Fabian and Heinrich to found the africrops! Limited Partnership with her in New York. The goal: Moringa for health-conscious individuals looking for clean and natural ways to supplement their diet, as well as Moringa for individuals looking to make a living with organic farming in Africa. Shortly thereafter a truck-full of Moringa showed up in front of Erika and Fabian’s door and the journey truly began.
For Heinrich it quickly became clear, Germany also needed Moringa and therefore africrops!. In 2012 him and Meinolf founded the africrops! GmbH in Berlin.
Many German consumers did not understand the English name ‘africrops!’ (combination of Africa and crops) and so the brand THE ESSENCE OF AFRICA was created!
In 2014 Dr. Andreas Wesselmann joined the africrops! team. As an expert for organic farming he brought many competencies into the team that have in particular benefitted our African partners. With his input both the productivity and the quality of product could be raised significantly.
In 2016 Fabian and Erika came to Berlin. Fabian has been a full-time member of the africrops! team in Berlin ever since. Erika remains an importer consulting that continues to provide the right impulses when it matters.
Since 2018 africrops! is also active in Namibia. Together with our local partners we created the first state-recognized vocational training centre for organic farming in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the fully-trained organic farmers that have run through the program high-quality Moringa is now produced in Namibia.
Since 2013 the africrops! GmbH from Berlin, Germany has been importing various African plant products – marketing them under their own brand “The Essence of Africa“, as well as providing them to company clients in bulk quantities. By trading these products we pursue the aim of promoting a sustainable development in Africa. Combining developmental goals with commercial objectives is a decisive factor to ensure the sustainability of this development.
Sustainability in our understanding is based on 3 pillars:
- social situation
- economical situation
africrops! producers are all personally advised, audited and trained by
our team. Through this close cooperation we are able to build reliable, long-term business relations. Through the consultation and training we provide to our partners, we are able to increase productivity, as well as the quality of the products produced. Throughout the cooperation we take into account the respective environments, as well as the needs and the opportunities of each partner.
A special outcome of our work is the first African organic farming training center in Vasdraai, Namibia. This facility has been officially recognized – and is now funded by – the Namibian state. It is the first official vocational training center for organic farming in Sub-Saharan Africa. Here young individuals from marginalized communities are trained. With these well-trained, competent workers we are able to produce high quality products on the one hand. On the other hand young people are introduced to the untapped potential in the agricultural sector, promoting entrepreneurial activity and developing the local market.
We call our approach “dual – but not german”. Under supervision trainees are introduced into the production process. africrops! brings the markets, so that income can already be generated at this point.
africrops! products are organic and raw food quality. This increases the demand in the global market and allows our partners to successfully take part in global trade. This greatly increases the income possibilities of the producers. We always trade directly with our partners and abstain from working with traders and speculators.
Our team possesses many years experience in Africa and especially in the developmental sector, but also in the German industry.
We pursue and live the idea of making African partners independent of aid in order to work together fairly and on eyelevel. The economic success of all partners in the value chain is an important aspect to us.
Fairness in our eyes is not only important between trade partners, but throughout the entire value chain. This includes producers, africrops! and the client.
We call it “Fair cooperation on eyelevel!”
Dr. Heinrich HEINRICHS
is the founder and Managing Director of the africrops! GmbH.
He is an expert for tropical crops who knows what to look for in order to secure highest quality standards. As a longtime consultant for education in Africa he set up the vocational training concept for the first organic farming vocational training centre in Vasdraai, Namibia. Moringa, with its many characteristics continues to fascinate the scientist in him. Dr. Heinrichs is convinced that we are only at the beginning of fully understanding all the benefits this plant has in store for us.
For his health and general well-being he takes Moringa tablets daily and regularly uses Moringa oil to nurture his skin.
More about Dr. Heinrich Heinrichs:
Dr. Andreas WESSELMANN
Is the managing director of the africrops! GmbH.
Ever since Dr. Wesselmann first travelled through West Africa as a student he was hooked by the continent and its diversity. During this time he developed several longtime friendships with his African classmates. It was these friends that successfully encouraged him to study Swahili. Today he is a certified Swahili teacher, allowing him to carry out on-field consultations in East Africa in the local language. As an expert for agriculture and organic certification he consults our partners on the right cultivation and processing of Moringa and other crops.
As a passionate cook he loves to experiment with Teff. Some of his creations can be found in our recipe collection. For his well-being he takes Moringa tablets daily.
Is the Business Operations Manager of the africrops! GmbH.
At the age of 10 he moved to South Africa with his parents. Later on he also lived in Namibia and Tanzania, which awakened his fascination for Africa and its vibrant energy. His primary responsibility is the development of the THE ESSENCE OF AFRICA brand, while also leading africrops! into the next generation with his network.
As a marathon runner he greatly values a healthy diet and natural performance optimization. He particularly enjoys the benefits of Moringa and Baobab.
More about Fabian Link:
Is the Commercial Projects Manager of the africrops! GmbH.
His first contact with the African continent came through its diverse music and later developed a fascination for the continent as a traveler. As an expert for business administration he is primarily responsible for keeping all business processes running smoothly. With his keen sense for entrepreneurialism he also takes on great responsibility in marketing activities.
He loves using Baobab and Hibiscus powder to sneak extra nutrients into his two little kids’ meals.
Is the Sales and Logistics Officer of the africrops GmbH.
His Backpacker days led him far around the world, whereby his contacts with far eastern philosophy had a particularly deep impact on his thinking. Yoga, Ayurveda and regular exercise are important elements in his life. Together with Nils Schwenzfeier he assures the smooth transaction of all business processes.
For his general well-being he takes Moringa tablets daily and regularly applies Baobab oil to nurture his skin.