Tara, chia, quinoa and more. These 'superfoods' are famous for their excellent nutritional value. In the past few years, Alterfin has expanded its range of agricultural products and started financing these superfoods. Let's take a quick tour of our financing rich in protein and amino acids.
Alterfin finances 19 agricultural products. Although coffee and cocoa remain the most financed products, new items are being added to the basket. These newcomers include many 'superfoods', such as quinoa, chia, tara or different types of nuts.
Quinoa is shooting up
Alterfin has been financing quinoa from Wiracoccha in Peru since 2013. This 'miracle' product has become very popular in Belgium and throughout the world in the past few years and demand is rising sharply. Alterfin's loans to Wiracoccha have proved essential to support this spectacular growth. The number of quinoa producers attached to Wiracoccha is also constantly increasing. There are now no fewer than 1,250. Wiracoccha supplies them with high-quality seed and technical assistance, as well as helping them to acquire 'organic' certification. As a result, the producers obtain higher yields. Finally, demand is steady and they receive very good prices.
Quinoa is rich in iron and proteins. It also contains eight amino acids that are essential for the body.
Macadamia and cashew nuts
Ten Senses Africa is a business in Kenya that markets macadamia nuts and cashew nuts. When it was established in 2010, Ten Senses was the world's first macadamia nut producer to obtain fair-trade certification. Alterfin granted the business its first loan in 2014. A total of 65,000 producers sell their nuts to Ten Senses.
Macadamia nuts are rich in oil (78% with almost 60% unsaturated fatty acids) as well as minerals, glucides, calcium, phosphorus, proteins and vitamins. The nuts 'with a thousand properties', they prevent type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, protect the heart, bones and teeth, promote cell regeneration and stimulate the nervous system.
Cashew nuts, meanwhile, are rich in vitamins, trace elements (magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, etc.), proteins and lipids and they also help reduce cholesterol levels.
Macadamia nuts have many properties. They can be eaten plain, cooked, salted, sweetened, grilled as appetizers or caramelised in ice creams.
Chia, new in 2016
Used as an offering to the Aztec gods by the ancient peoples of Mexico, chia is once again attracting interest owing to its nutritional values. Chia has a high lipids content (25 to 38%) and is rich in omega 3.
Alterfin finances Bolivian Shoji, which exports chia and beans from organic farming. A total of over 1,000 producers are affiliated to this new Alterfin partner in Bolivia. They receive technical assistance, good prices and good delivery conditions.
Chia, a superfood produced by our new Bolivian partner, Shoji.
Fair-trade Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts grow in the subtropical regions of Latin America. Brazil, Peru and Bolivia are the main producers. Alterfin finances this superfood via the Bolivian partner, PAMOC. PAMOC has obtained fair-trade and organic certification and works with about 150 producers in the Riberalta region.
Brazil nuts consist of between 60% and 70% lipids and between 15 and 20% proteins with high biological value. They also contain many minerals, as well as amino acids.
Tara, new opportunities
Finally, tara gum - also known as Peruvian carob - is a seed found only in South America. Its naturally sweet taste evokes a mixture of milk coffee, cinnamon and chocolate with a hint of caramel. Tara gum pairs well with smoothies or sauces.
Alterfin finances tara gum via its partner ‘Asociación de Productores de Tara (APT) del Norte’ in Peru. This association of 152 producers buys tara seeds from 1,844 families in the Andean valley. Tara has the advantage of being harvested twice a year. This therefore represents an economic opportunity for thousands of families. The producers receive technical assistance so that they can produce tara while respecting the forest. The association also takes care of the quality controls and marketing.
Rich in protein, fiber and lysine (amino acid), tara gum has a high content of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.
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