Other Crops

At Esco we love enabling farmers to diversify their crops and reduce risk away from their primary income. We’ve been doing this since we started, and teaching farmers financial responsibility is one of the most important things we do.

Cinchona

Cinchona is a crop with significant historical importance as it yields quinine and other alkaloids which were (and still are!) used in early malaria treatment. Today cinchona remains vital in the health and beverage industries. Native to South America, cinchona was introduced to the Congo in the 19th century with increased European interest in Africa and is now a vital part of smallholder farmer income diversity.

 

The bark is harvested, dried, cleaned and milled prior to export. In the high altitude Lubero area where our other main crops do not grow due to climatic reasons, over 65% of households are dependent on cinchona growing for their livelihoods. Esco has been working with them to export cinchona since 1996.

 

Please get in touch for orders and to learn more about our supply chain. 

 

Papain

Papain is a plant protease extracted from unripe carica papaya and used in the health and food industries as well as for medical treatments. 

 

The extraction of the product in our new Bulongo factory is quite a process! We collect the curd from our partner farmers, mix and then reduce the liquid in drying containers using our wood-fired boilers. The process takes around three days, with the aim to achieve as high an enzymatic protease concentration as possible. 

 

Please get in touch for orders and to find out more about our factory and testing.

 

Vanilla

This beautiful orchid (v. planifolia) is very difficult to grow; quality vanilla only comes from good vines and growing practices. Congo is relatively new to this crop but has an ideal climate for its cultivation- there are two harvest seasons (June/July and December/January). All vanilla grown today is pollinated by hand and the flower is open for only one day, so you have to watch your crop very carefully!

 

We maintain in constant close contact with farmers in all our growing areas in order to support their families and obtain vanilla beans of highest quality.

 

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