The Martin Bauer Group, a German Investment and Development Cooperation (DEG) customer and a specialist in the cultivation of plant products, has been running a pilot project for sustainable herb cultivation in Zimbabwe for the past three years – co-financed by the DEG. The successful project is now to be extended to other structurally weak regions of Africa. A letter of intent for the “SDG Compact” investment was signed with the Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ). With “SDG Compact” DEG is supporting complex projects of international companies, which through their commitment are helping to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).
A variety of organic-quality herbs and spice plants are already being cultivated and processed at two pilot farms in Zimbabwe. A total of around 400 permanent and 500 seasonal jobs are being created, and 5,000 smallholders, farm workers and wild plant collectors are being trained – in regions of Zimbabwe where attractive jobs are scarce. DEG is supporting the project as part of the BMZ’s develoPPP.de programme.
Regular income for smallholders and farm workers
The cultivation of organic-quality herbs and spices is a very labour-intensive process that relies on intact agricultural ecosystems. The Franconian company believes that the local conditions in other African countries will also be suitable. Production of these high-quality raw materials on site offers smallholders and farm workers a regular income.
However, there is often a lack of know-how, equipment and financial means to test organic cultivation and establish it successfully. Using the experience gained in Zimbabwe, the company is planning site analyses and trial cultivation over the next ten years in other countries, including Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar and Namibia. Demonstration plants with integrated training centres or cooperative farms will be set up in the successful regions. Overall, the project is expected to improve the living conditions of up to 70,000 people in the continent’s structurally weakest regions.
The Martin Bauer Group, a fourth-generation family business, has stood for globally unique expertise in plant-based products since 1930. Together with its customers, it develops solutions for the tea, beverage, food and animal feed industry. These are based on more than 200 high-quality, raw plant materials cultivated by farmers or smallholders, or collected by wild plant collectors.