Traceability

Traceability

Balmed sources cocoa and robusta coffee from over 13.000 small scale farmers in Sierra Leone. Before entering the Balmed Certification Programm, every farmer must be registered within the system and get a unique farmer code.

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BLOCKFARMING©

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The Balmed Blockfarming System© is a revolutionary land-use model for agricultural crops. Since the start of Balmed´s Blockfarming System©, the company outplanted over 600 ha new cocoa plantations and employed 500 youths in its farms.

Social Responsibility

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We believe in a fair and sustainable production. Our corporate responsibility do prohibitwill any form of childlabour, forced labour, gender gap and repression.

Balmed in Sidley Pro Bono Program

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Sidley Pro Bono Program

Balmed has been selected as a associated partner firm in the Africa Asia Pro Bono Program by the international law firm Sidley Austin LLP. The Pro Bono Program aims to provide legal advice to the world´s poorest farmers. The Sidley lawyers so far have adviced Balmed on a loan agreement. For more informations regarding the Pro Bono Program and Balmed´s role please visit the following link.
BALMED PRO BONO

Blockfarming Food Security

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Blockfarming Food Security

In order to cope with the poor food situation in Sierra Leone, a group of NGO´s, Government institutions and private sector partners, headed by FAO gathers weekly to discuss and implement food security strategies. So far various partners have presented their ideas and solutions in the meeting. Balmed has also presented the Blockfarming concept as well as its mobile cashless payment system to the group as an innovative approach towards food security and traceability in the agriculture sector in Sierra Leone.

AATIF consultant visited Balmed

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AATIF consultant visited Balmed

The African Agriculture Trade and Investment Fund has sent a consultant to Sierra Leone to assess the impact of Ebola on Balmed´s operations as well as its sourcing ability of produce for the upcoming trading cycle. Balmed has signed a trade finance agreement with AATIF in 2013 which has been put on hold due to Ebola and the State of Emergency in Sierra Leone. Balmed is looking forward to continue the trading activities, once the State of Emergency has been lifted.

Disabled farmer program

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Disabled farmer program

The Ebola crisis has had a tremendous impact on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Especially vulnerable groups like widows, elderly and disabled people are the worst affected victims of the crisis. Therefore Balmed started an initiative to support disabled people in its operational areas who have lost relatives due to Ebola. The focus group are widows with children.

A4D outplanting activities

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A4D outplanting activities

The EU funded project, Agriculture for Development, A4D is actively supporting Balmed in its rehabilitation and outplanting activities in the Eastern Provinces of Sierra Leone. The project provided technical assitance and inputs for Balmed´s nursery as well as for the distribution of cocoa seedlings to smallholder farmers in the project areas. A total of 335.000 cocoa seedlings have been nursed and outplanted on 300 hectare GPS surveyed farmland.

Micro finance for cocoa farmers

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Micro finance

The Sierra Leone based company Microfinance Trust Ltd. has visited Balmed cocoa farmers to work out possible fields of collaboration in the agriculture sector. The project aims to provide loans to cocoa farmers to rehabilitate old and unproductive farms in order to increase quality and quantity and therefore the income of cocoa farmers.

Quick and professional aid required to stop the spreading of the Ebola virus.

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Quick and professional aid

The current Ebola outbreak has cause over 1.000 deaths and infected close to 4.000 people in Sierra Leone so far. In order to stop the spread of the disease, professional aid needs to come quick, to put rapid countermeasures in place. With its network of 20.000 rural farmers in the most affected areas in Sierra Leone, Balmed has actively joined the fight against Ebola. In partnership with the Sierra Leonean Government, as well as international organizations, the company is providing full support to rural farmers and communities, in most affected and quarantined districts.

Disease Track & Trace system for Ebola

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Disease Track & Trace system for Ebola

In order to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola viral disease, Balmed is actively working on a community monitoring and data information tool by using smartphone applications syncronized with a cloud server for real time data transfer and global accessibility. Balmed futhermore looks to collaborate with national and international partners interested in data management and information technology. Interested parties can contact Balmed for a system demonstration. Collected data is displayed on a GIS-­‐map and globally accessible through a cloud. Please click on the link to view current statistics: cloud.saplumira.com

Worst Ebola outbreak ever threatening Sierra Leone

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Desinfectant chlorine solution as a necessary prevention step

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia is said to be out of control. In Sierra Leone, 489 people are infected and 159 has been died from the virus (28.7.2014). The president, Ernest Bai Koroma, has announced the state of emergency and enforce quarantine procedures in affected regions, if necessary with the help of military. Borders in affected countries will be closed. WHO released a 100 Mio $ package to combat the disease with immidiate effect. The center for Disease Control in USA has raised the alert level to 3 for Giunea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Travellers from Lungi International Airport have to undergo a health asessment before boarding any plane. Balmed has stopped operations in the affected epicentres in Kailahun and Kenema. The Ebola outbreak furthermore seriously threaten Sierra Leones economy and food supply, as epicentres are considered to be the agricultural areas accounting for the majority of food and cash crops produced in the country. Several NGO´s and Development Organizations have closed their offices and deployed their staff from affected regions or even out of the country. Ebola is a Viral Heamorragic Fever, transmitted through body liquid and close contact to infected persones. Typical symptoms are headache, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Suspected cases must be immidiately reported to the Directorate of Disease Prevention and Control: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +232 76 913000

Balmed signed Funding Agreement with the African Enterprise Challenge Fund

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Balmed signed Funding Agreement with the African Enterprise Challenge Fund

Balmed Holdings signed a Funding Agreement with the African Enterprise Challenge Fund. (AECF) The company was granted an 800.000 $ facility to upscale the Blockfarming operations and plant another 3.000 acres of treecrops using the Blockfarming System. Balmed will furthermore diversify into cashew production targeting the northern parts of Sierra Leone. The project will result in 930 direct project beneficiaries and an average Net Benefit of 945 $ per household per year, when crops reach full maturity.

Balmed signed Trade Finance Agreement with the African Agriculture Trade and Investment Fund

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Balmed signed Trade Finance Agreement with the African Agriculture Trade and Investment Fund

In order to boost and increase its cocoa and coffee sales Balmed signed Trade Finance Agreement with the African Agriculture Trade and Investment Fund. (AATIF) The AATIF is an investment fund backed by the german development bank KfW, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Bank as Investment Manager and the Common Fund for Commodities as Technical Assistance Manager. The AATIF public private partnership facility provides various funding sources ranging from loans to equity investment.

Balmed signed pilot agreement with SAP for implementation and test run of a newly developed Traceability Software App using smartphones.

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Balmed signed pilot agreement with SAP for implementation and test run of a newly developed Traceability Software App using smartphones.

In collaboration with the Mobile Empowerment Emerging Markets Research Department of the German based software firm SAP, Balmed is implementing a digital traceability system based on a mobile app, developed by SAP. The app is installed on smartphones, that are used by the Balmed staff to purchase products and track products through the whole supply chain digitally. The system clearly visualizes the operational areas and plantation sizes using GIS mapping. So far Balmed has submitted its masterdata to SAP for syncronisation and app configuration and has tested a first trial version of the app. The 2 year pilot shall „go live“ in the beginning of 2014. The digital product flow allows a exact monitoring of bying processes and gives a detailed overview of the total purchases and sales of the business.

Moringa Fund Manager visiting Balmed cocoa plantations

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Moringa Fund Manager visiting Balmed cocoa plantations

The newly established Moringa Partnership Fund is an international investment vehicle focussing on sustainable agriculture business models. The fund is backed by the swiss based Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild, a part of the Edmond de Rothschild Group and the French National Forest Office (ONFI) as technical advisor to the fund. The fund manager Martin Poulsen visited Balmed and the cocoa plantations to learn more about Balmed´s Blockfarming system and the Sierra Leonean cocoa sector.

Successful first round at the 3rd CFC Call For Proposals

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Successful first round at the 3rd CFC Call For Proposals

Balmed successfully passed the first round of the 3rd Call for Proposals of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC). A sitemanager from the Common Fund will be visiting Balmed in January 2014, to see the companies operational structures and discuss further investment options. The Common Fund for Commodities is also the TA (Technical Assistance) Manager of the African Trade and Investment Fund (AATIF). The Balmed Proposal will be presented during the 53rd meeting of the Consultative Committee of the CFC held in Amsterdam.

Balmed plants 400 hectar cocoa in a joint partnership with AMS B.V. under the Private Sector Investment Programme

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Balmed plants 400 hectar cocoa in a joint partnership with AMS B.V. under the Private Sector Investment Programme

In a joint partnership with the Dutch Private Sector Investment Programme (PSI) Balmed establish 400 hectar cocoa plantation in close cooperation with the Dutch agriculture firm AMS B.V. as lead implementing agency. The project is a partnership between Theobroma B.V., Capitol Trading Company, Commodity Trading Company and Balmed Holdings, jointly forming AMS B.V. The project outcome will be a 1000 hectar cocoa plantation using the Blockfarming System and 280 youths benefiting from increased income through the sales of cocoa and intercrops.

EU and Sierra Leonean Government launch 16 Million Euro agricultural project in Sierra Leone

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EU and Sierra Leonean Government launch 16 Million Euro agricultural project in Sierra Leone

In cooperation with the Sierra Leonean Government, the European Union launched a 16 Million Euro agricultural project, Agriculture for Development (A4D) in Sierra Leone. The project mainly focusses on employment creation and sustainable cash crop production aiming cocoa, coffee and cashew. The leading implementing agencies are the german NGO Welthungerhilfe, the Italian Development Cooperation COOPI and the National Research Institution of Greenwich University. Balmed has recently signed a cooperation agreement for planation rehabilitation and establishment of new plantations (Blockfarming) under the A4D project.

Irish NGO Goal visiting Balmed Store in Kenema

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Irish NGO Goal visiting Balmed Store in Kenema

On the 11th november 2013, the Irish based NGO Goal International was visiting the Balmed Store in Kenema to see the companies operations and find out more about the working relations with cocoa farmers in the Kenema District. Goal Internatioal mainly focusses on humanitarian projects like healthcare, water sanitation and hygiene. Balmed is looking forward to a possible cooperation with the NGO on selected projects.

German NGO Sankofa donates football items, sewing machines and office equipment to Adult Literacy Centers

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German NGO Sankofa donates football items, sewing machines and office equipment to Adult Literacy Centers

In 2013 the German NGO Sankofa e.V. donated a full container load of football items, office equipment and other items like sewing machines or music instruments. The items were collected from the members of the charity club in Germany and then shipped to Sierra Leone. The items were distributed by Balmed to the various communities and to the Adult Literacy classes Balmed is working with. The football items, containing shoes, jerseys, protectors and balls were given to 4 clubs in the Kailahun and Pujehun Districts.

New opportunities to boost honey value chain in Sierra Leone

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New opportunities to boost honey value chain in Sierra Leone

Due to an international fast increasing bee colony collapse and it consequential impact on pollination as well as its longterm effects on the food supply chain, international research organisations focussing on bee production and its positive environmental outcomes. It is proven that for example apiculture on cashew plantation significantly improves pollination and thereof resulting in increased cashew production. The Netherland NGO Cordaid recently visited Balmed to discuss and exchange knowledge about the honey sector in Sierra Leone. Especially the combination with cashew plantations could make future honey projects sustainable for a long term supply chain, mainly for in-country marketing of honey in larger quantities as well as end-customer packaging.

Cocoa and politics

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Dirk Niebel visited the cocoa project in Sierra Leone
German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel, visited the cocoa project in Sierra Leone.

On the 7th of August 2012 the german federal minister Dirk Niebel visited Sierra Leone on his travel through West-Africa. The politician warranted for development funds from the german government of about 6 Mio € in the coming 3 years to assists Sierra Leones growing economy and contribute to youthemployment and private sector development. Niebel visited a traide fair event, hosted by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) to find out more about the cocoa and coffee value chain. Representatives of Balmed presented a small jute bag of original Balmed beans to the minister. We hope he enjoyed our tasty beans :)

Balmed Pineapple Blockfarming©

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To guarantee the best quality juice, the fruits needs to be processed direct from the farm, in order to conserve the natural aroma and vitamins. Therefore the american based company Firststep built up a juicefactory within a free economic zone in Sierra Leone. The fairtrade certified production company invests in sustainable agriculture and outplants pineapple plantations in the "backyard" of the company. The pineapples are planted in a circumcircle around the processing plant, to reduce logistics and beware the natural freshness of the fruits. Since july 2012 the farmers in the surrounding areas made agreements with the company to plant pineapples with the Balmed Blockfarming© System. According to the fairtrade standarts the farmer are getting paid a higher price for their agricultural product, when they sell the fruits to the company.

250 acres of new farmland for sustainable pineapple production.

The farmers in the surrounding area agreed to start the pineapple plantations on the selected plots under the Blockfarming© System. In a jointventure with AFC (African Felix Juice) Balmed set up the first plots togehter with the participating farmers, who got supported with tools, trainingsmaterials, and improved pineapple-varieties.

Sierra Leone Bush League

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The majority of the youths in Sierra Leone are big football fans. Both the men and women. Since 2010 Balmed built up and supports over 8 teams from the rural areas. We have teams in Mobai (Kailahun District), Kono, Kenema Pujehun and Bo. The teams are supported by Balmed with footballs, shoes, shirts and pants. They play matches against each other or other clubs within the area. The teams can win a trophy; the best players become selected for the "HAWKS UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB" in Freetown. Hawks united is a Division one football club in Freetown.

"The football society needs strong improvements here in Sierra Leone; we must give our youths an opportunity to show of their talents and to give them some freetime activity. In the most countries young men and women can afford a ball to play. Not here in Sierra Leone. Thats why we founded these teams, to give them the opportunity to play."

Said George Williams, the manager of the HAWKS Football Club. All players who join the Hawks Foorball Club are professional players who get paid for playing football.

 

Pure Rainforest Honey

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Honey was the first sweet known in human consumption. Even the very early prehistoric men used honey as a natural source of carbonhydrates. Honey is widely used in pastries, bakings, as sweetener in tea and coffee and for breakfast. The honey from Sierra Leone comes from pesticide free farmlands across the country. Its aromatic and sweet flavour has already a growing fandom in Sierra Leone.

Various NGO´s are working on the development of the honey value chain and the marketing of the products.

The development agency FAO supported farmgroups who are involved in honeyproduction. 2 Groups were identified in the Koinadugu District; The farmer groups received intensive training on honeyproduction, health and hygenic conditions and food security. FAO installed propper buildings for small scale honey processing, Balmed supported the project with beekeeping equipment and apiculture tools. A challenging task is the sound labelling and packaging. Balmed uses glasses and designed labels to attract customers. The honey is available in assorted supermarkets across the country, especially Freetown.

 

Growing Cocoa

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The soil in Sierra Leone is very fertile. As soon as you drop a seed, it will germinate within few days. Balmed outplanted since 2009 over 1500 acres of new cocoa plantations in various districts. After the landagreements were done between the company and the farmer, nurseries for young cocoa seedlings were established. Since 2009 over 450.000 new cocoa trees have been outplanted under the Balmed Blockfarming© System. In cooperation with the University of Freetown all plantations have been GPS measured, to get the exact data, how many land each farmers is responsible for. After the GPS measuring all the land have been legal registered together with the Government of Sierra Leone.

 

Annett Louisan and the Cocoa Trees

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In 2011 we had some interesting visitors. The german singer and Fairtrade supporter Annett Louisan came together with Dieter Overath, performing director of Fairtrade Germany and Wolfgang Jamann, director of WHH (german agro action), to visit the cocoa project. The delegation vivisted the farmers in their villages to check on the fair working conditions.

"Fairtrade can support cooperatives like MCGC with marketing. With the Fairtrade certification it is easier to have market access."

Said Dieter Overath, performing director of Fairtrade Germany. Hence the cooperative set up an internal control system with all its participating farmers, to guarantee fair labour conditions and preclude child labour. Currently all 7000 participating farmers are certified against the Fairtrade Code of Conduct.

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Contact Us

Phone:
+232 76 649660

Address:
Balmed Holdings Ltd.
2b Africanus Road
Kissy Dockyard
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Africa

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