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Business Location: Aburu Asebu Kwamankese District, Ghana
Type: Limited Company
Year of Founding: 1984
Number of Employees: 20 employees, 30 contract workers
CEO: Marian Thompson
Mission: To produce high quality dry organic citrus peel products through excellence, innovation, and quality management, while supporting our farmers and creating sustainable jobs of benefit to our local community
Vision: To be focused and to be the leading company in West Africa supplying sustainable quality organic dry citrus peels, while waste (citrus pulp) are processed into ethanol to use in pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries in Ghana, Africa and beyond
Bio-Tropical Products Company Limited is an agricultural enterprise based in the Central Region of Ghana. The company was founded by two friends who were passionate about organic citrus farming to produce fresh citrus and process value added citrus products for the export market. The company strives to deliver the best products and exceptional services to its customers.
Now, with over 30 years of experience, the company has established 300 acres of citrus farms, in addition to sourcing from 200 acres of organic certified small holder farmers. Its oranges are harvested in all seasons, while the lemons are harvested 8 months out of the year.
Bio-Tropical Products Co. has three major teams: the production and quality assurance and control team, the farm manager and Internal Control System (ICS) team, and the sales and marketing team. Bio-Tropical Products Co. is the first Fairtrade certified company for citrus fruits in Ghana.
Relationship with Smallholders
Bio-Tropical Products Co. works closely with 59 organic certified small holder farmers from whom it regularly purchases organic citrus, helping them to maintain their livelihoods.
The company creates employment for young females, contributing to women’s empowerment. It constantly trains its staff and out-grower farmers to meet international standards, and fosters cordial working relationships with its suppliers, employees and customers.
Products Covered and Markets
The main products of Bio-Tropical Products Co. include fresh and processed organic citrus. Its value added citrus products include a variety of orange and lemon peels cut in different forms (dry quarter-cut peels, tea-cut, whole slice, cubed, stripped), in addition to powered peels and candied peels. These peels are mostly used for cosmetics, teas and medicinal purposes. The company also produces organic cocoa shells and shea butter.
Bio-Tropical Products Co. is an export-oriented company, with its international clients based in the United States and the European Union (Germany). Its shea butter and cocoa products are sold regionally on African markets.
Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans
In the last 5 years, the company evolved to processing citrus into different forms of products. The steps towards innovation into value added products has strengthened and diversified Bio-Tropical Products Co.’s portfolio, and allowed for it to export products according to buyer’s specifications.
The company invested in obtaining certifications in organic production to continue to expand to lucrative international markets as it believes that organic is the best way forward for the business. Furthermore, Fairtrade certification has allowed for labour issues to be more transparent to its staff and partners.
Bio-Tropical Products Co. views the lack of interest in agribusiness from the youth around their farming community as a major challenge. To face this, the company is working to establish partnerships with neighbouring educational institutions, and is recruiting student interns so that the youth can experience the business of organic agriculture. An additional challenge to the company is accessing financial assistance.
Success Factors and Lessons Learned
Bio-Tropical Products Co. has found success by committing to traceability and good record keeping, organising trainings for its staff, responsible waste management, crop protection strategies and proper hygiene.
The company dedicates itself to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments and to sustainability. This includes the formulation of environmentally friendly products and the use of organic waste materials from local farms to produce biofuel for its boilers. More information needed.
Bio-Tropical Products Co. has expanded its market opportunities by actively participating in trade fairs. It has recently been in attendance to the world’s leading trade fair for organic food in Germany, Biofach.
Moreover, the company has persisted to establish strong partnerships with several organisations, including the German development agency GIZ, the German training institution Cognos International and the COLEAD. The company is a member of the COLEAD and has received specific support under the COLEAD’s FFM programme. It has also attended several of the COLEAD’s group trainings, pertaining to several topics including sustainable management of biodiversity, crop rotation, how to measure social impact, attending a trade fair and more. Managing Director Marian urges fellow entrepreneurs to focus on working with organisations that can help develop and support their businesses.
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