Organic farmer Hubert Bois and BioTropic from Duisburg have taken over the 22-hectare farm of Manfred Schöneck in Meckenheim. The agricultural operations will be turned into a Demeter-standard organic farm over the next few years. "BioTropic is primarily an importer of organic fruit and vegetables from abroad", explains operations manager Sascha Suler: "In purchasing this farm in Meckenheim, we now want to focus more strongly on regional products in order to meet rising demand for organic-quality fruit."
Our latest development aid project is currently under way in Costa Rica. Around 75 small-scale farmers from Alajuela Province in the north of the country will be learning how organic farming works. The aim is to help them achieve success on the international market with organic products. Humans and nature should benefit equally from the project.
"We hope to qualify these small-scale farmers so that they can produce exportable organic products sustainably and in sufficient quantities", says Sascha Suler, operations manager of BioTropic in Duisburg. To date, there are only a few farmers in Costa Rica who operate according to organic guidelines. Giant monopoly plantations with conventionally grown bananas and pineapples dominate most of the cultivatable land. They mostly belong to large international fruit conglomerates. Small-scale farmers are shut out and have almost no chance to gain a foothold on the international market.
February is all about Fruit Logistica. Berlin was once again the hub for around 78,000 of the trade fair visitors from the fruit and vegetable sector. We were there, of course.
The Operations Manager of BioTropic Duisburg, Sascha Suler, visited our agricultural projects in Costa Rica and in the Dominican Republic in December to get an idea of the conditions on site.
We again followed the origin of our Italian fruit and vegetables and took a few organic store owners with us on our trip, while employees of organic wholesaler Rinklin were also there. Our journey led us into the regions of Apulia and Calabria, two areas at the country’s “boot heel”. The favourable climate of the Mediterranean region provides for a long agricultural tradition in the area, as in winter the temperatures generally remain above freezing.