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 :)
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.
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.
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.