Organic processor looking for opportunities in Africa

fpa-babyfood.jpgAllganix is South Africa’s largest organic foods processor. Based in Somerset West, Western Cape, it has been built up over the past two years. Its main product is a range of bottled organic baby foods, all based on pureed organic fruit.
/~Allganix’s entry into the South African baby food market is against huge competitors. Purity, the largest baby food brand in South Africa, holds 99% of the long-life jarred baby food market.
Nevertheless, small Allganix appears to have a good chance against non-organic competitors because of the many differentiating points of its product. A big positive indicator for it is that organic baby foods now hold 80% of the British market; large percentages are also held by organic baby foods in many other First World markets.
The reason for these high market shares is that mothers want the very best that they can afford for their babies.
But Allganix also plans, in future, to produce and supply other processed organic foods – not just those based on purees. Allganix therefore wants to create a new, ”blue sky” sector in organic processed foods in Africa.
Leonard Mead, MD of Allganix, is the immediate past chairperson of Organics SA, the South African organics industry body. He is currently completing a masters degree on "Ethics of Food".
He and his partner in Allganix, Matthys Strydom, believe that there is considerable potential to build up processing of organic products in the rest of Africa.
Processed organic products generally enjoy strong demand on international markets.
For instance, says Mead, Uganda is Africa’s largest producer of organic fruit and vegetables because, historically, its growing conditions have been so good that smaller farmers have not used the fertilizers and pesticides normally used in conventional commercial farming.
Similar conditions apply in many other African countries.
Mead says that the formation of a processed organic foods industry is absolutely vital for the development of a critical mass of organic farmers in a country.
He says: "Supply is the biggest challenge to the development of an organic industry, and the creation of an organic processing industry advances this hugely."
Mead says Allganix would be interested in hearing from producers in the rest of Africa who could assure a critical mass of ongoing production for processing.
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