ProFound Newsletter - February 2017
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  1. Kicking off 2017
  2. Highlights in Q4 2016 / Q1 2017
    • BioTrade product and supplier selection in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar
    • ProFound launches integrated certification tool at BioFach 2017
    • 11 Rural Finance Matchmaking Sessions for African entrepreneurs at BioFach 2017
    • Organic Africa Pavilion exhibitors meet 750+ business contacts
  3. Upcoming activities for Q1 2017
    • Mission for Ethopia gums wild-collection standard
    • ProFound @In-Cosmetics 2017: CBI stand R50&RR50

Kicking off 2017

The year 2017 started off knowing that our dear friend and guide in Natural Ingredients work Klaus Dürbeck is no longer among us. He passed away unexpectedly in December last year at the age of 60. We shared most of our work in the past 20 years, often in difficult places. You can read about the great significance of Klaus’ work in a tribute article of Josef Brinckmann, which will be published on the HerbalGram website in the coming weeks.   

ProFound and the office of Klaus Dürbeck Consulting, with Klaus’ daughter Teresa and niece Petra as lead experts, will continue to work together in the future. To carry forward Klaus' legacy, we will closely collaborate with our partners in the IN2NI network, which we founded together in 2014.
Klaus is also sorely missed in our FairWild work, as could be witnessed during all FairWild events at the BioFach trade fair in Germany. Many friends gathered to recall stories with Klaus, marking the 10 years of history of the FairWild Foundation. Klaus leaves a deep footprint in the current state of success of the FairWild Standard.

Bert-Jan Ottens, managing director of ProFound

In the first two months of 2017, ProFound consultants travelled to Ethiopia and Southeast Asia for various Natural Ingredients programmes. During BioFach we provided assistance at the CBI pavilion, and we hosted 18 organic suppliers in our Organic Africa Pavilion.
Check out this newsletter to learn more about these activities and our plans in the next couple of months.

Highlights in Q4 2016 / Q1 2017

BioTrade product and supplier selection in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar

At the end of last year, ProFound and Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation identified promising BioTrade products from South-East Asia as part of the Regional BioTrade project in Southeast Asia. In January, ProFound consultants Robbie Hogervorst and Bert-Jan Ottens joined the local Helvetas teams in Vietnam, Lao PDR and Myanmar to verify the outcomes of this research. The team talked to companies and other stakeholders, such as government institutions, through individual interviews and a roundtable.

"During the verification missions we identified the need for sustainable sourcing practices in Vietnam. On the one hand, this is an important market requirement in Europe and the USA. On the other hand, it can add value to the product and could tackle important social, environmental and economic issues. Although the needs of the three countries are very different, they have strong opportunities to learn from each other and from their experiences."

Robbie Hogervorst, ProFound consultant

Check our website to learn more about our work in the BioTrade sector in South-East Asia with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation.

11 Rural Finance Matchmaking Sessions for African entrepreneurs at BioFach 2017

African producers often cannot access the right financial services in their country to expand their market access abroad; their financial position makes them too large to be targeted by development aid interventions, but too small to qualify for loans from many private banks.  At the same time, social lenders in Europe and North America cannot identify a sufficient number of viable projects to fund and face high risks catering to the needs of the missing middle.

“ProFound provides full value chain solutions from market analysis, business planning, market access and rural finance. We matched five companies from Ethiopia and Ghana with three social lenders who are members of the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF)”, says Bert-Jan Ottens (director ProFound).

We organised a total of 11 matchmaking sessions with RaboFund from Rabobank, Triodos and Shared Interest and African suppliers at BioFach to help reduce the finance barriers these suppliers face to export to international markets. They need working and investment capital as well as term loans to finance their exports and operating costs, particularly as it can take months before clients in Europe pay for exported products.

“The preparation of the matchmaking by ProFound was highly appreciated,” says France Villeneuve, Regional Representative Northern Hemisphere & Pacific Rim at Shared Interest.

E-mail if you are interested in ProFound's rural finance matchmaking sessions. 

ProFound launches integrated certification tool at BioFach 2017 

Photo: TRAFFIC/Timoshyna

During BioFach 2017, we launched our integrated certification tool for suppliers of wild-collected natural ingredients. This tool helps suppliers to assess and certify their supply chains according to multiple sustainability standards at the same time. It includes all protocols to comply with international standards and certifications such as Good Agricultural Collection Practices (GACP), organic, FairWild and fair trade. 

Gus Le Breton, CEO at Zimbabwean company B’Ayoba, explains, “Our business, with many years of experience, still finds the complex and different array of certification schemes a major headache. We greatly appreciate this tool for its ability to make our lives easier.”

The tool was first tested in a pilot of the Dutch Import Promotion Bureau CBI ( that ProFound manages in North Pakistan. We use the tool to establish a system for the sustainable sourcing of high-quality pine nuts with multiple quality and sustainability standards. At BioFach, we also supported three Pakistani suppliers from this programme at the CBI stand. 

Email us if you are interested in the tool.

Organic Africa Pavillion exhibitors meet 750+ business contacts 

At the Organic Africa Pavilion 15 African SMEs exhibited at BioFach in Nuremberg, the largest trade fair for organic food in the world. A 67% increase in exhibitors bringing high-quality organic natural ingredients from all over the continent. Exhibitors from six countries showed special African organic products such as mango, honey, coffee and baobab. A true Ethiopian coffee ceremony was part of the show. 

The participants of the Organic Africa Pavilion had excellent visibility at BioFach, and the response from visitors was inspiring. We reached more than 750 business contacts during the 4 days, of which 65% were categorised as high priority by the exhibiting companies. 

Many unique new products originate from Africa's wide range in biodiversity.  However, African suppliers do not always know the opportunities of the organic market or how to certify their products as organic. Moreover, African suppliers at international trade fairs are few, as there is limited export promotion support in Africa. BioFach is the largest organic food trade fair in the world, where the Organic Africa Pavilion aims to overcome these obstacles and help develop Africa’s organic sector.

Email us if you want to participate next year or learn more about the exhibitors.

Upcoming activities for Q1 2017

Mission to Ethiopia: wild-collection standard for gums

In Q1, ProFound will present an innovative solution to the Dutch embassy in Ethiopia, which aims at improving sustainable wild-collection. This solution helps entrepreneurs implement practices to collect products of the right quality, at the right time, in the right way. The goal is to stimulate collectors to conserve trees and to improve stability of volumes available for collection. Planting more gum trees further increases available volumes and counters erosion and desertification. Diversification of production in the area can further improve income.

With proper documentation and traceability in place, collectors will get a higher price for their products. At the same time, exporters in Ethiopia will be able to target better paying customers in international markets who are willing to pay a premium for a sustainable product. This provides better incomes along the chain, and gives consumers more confidence that they are using a sustainable product. 

Check out our website to stay up-to-date on our work with wild-collected gums in Ethiopia. 

ProFound @In-Cosmetics 2017: CBI stand R50&RR50
At the In-Cosmetics trade fair from 4-6 April in London, ProFound consultant Robbie Hogervorst will support 20 cosmetic ingredient suppliers, together with CBI expert Andrew Jones. These suppliers are part of the CBI export coaching programme for SMEs from South Africa, Indonesia, Peru and Colombia. They offer a wide range of cosmetic ingredients, from luxurious oils and fragrances to innovative botanical extracts. Robbie will also catch up to the latest trends in cosmetic ingredients in London. 
Coming to In-Cosmetics? Visit the CBI stand at R50 & RR50, or e-mail us if you want to set up a meeting.
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ProFound - Advisers In Development · Lange Smeestraat 55, Binnenstad, Utrecht, Nederland · Utrecht, 3511 PV · Netherlands

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