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Bio - History

BioAfrica was founded by Steph Hartung in 1999 in response to a changing world. The main factors are globalizations of markets, global climate change and the complete removal of agricultural subsidies by the South African Government for commercial farmers in South Africa .

In 2002, after 3 long years BioAfrica was finally incorporated as "GEO BioAfrica Propriety Limited". This play on words has multiple meanings, GEO stands for "Growing Essential Oil in BioAfrica" and also GEO means EARTH while BIO means LIFE, hence "EARTH giving LIFE to AFRICA".

BioAfrica is rooted in Agriculture, specializing in the contract farming of Essential oils, Biofuel crops, Honey bee pollination for seed production and honey production.

To date BioAfrica has not been able to secure a single Rand or US Dollar to establish a single black essential oils farmer. Over the last 7 years the various governments and corporate companies were approached. BioAfrica submitted many requests for funding to the some of biggest mining houses and other institutions namely: Goldfields, Anglogold Ashanti Ashanti and De Beers, Ernest Oppenheimer & Son, Standard Bank, ABSA, The Land Bank, the SA Government Dept Agric, The Dept. of Trade and Industry, Chemin and Sedichem, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Ebony Consulting and The UK's D.f.I.D. and many others. Sadly all of the above decided that funding black emerging farmers too risky. The only exception- and we wish to thank: "Care in Lesotho" who had the foresight and courage to fund a trial of 5 ha of chamomile in Lesotho in 2001.

Eventually BioAfrica turned to existing experienced South African commercial farmers or Boers (as they are affectionately known) this lead to the development of our BioAfrica contract growing system. It was very educational and faced many challenges in establishing this new form of contract growing and relationship building for our industry, in most cases our contract farmers had good earnings too.

Over the past 7 years, BioAfrica and our farmers experienced unbelievable challenges; often it felt that the hard times would never end. The essential oils industry is very secretive-sharing of information is not common; most process had to be learned through trial and error. BioAfrica even pioneered the commercial a microwave extraction technique. The hardest times are over and now we can proudly be stand and be counted with the top companies.

BioAfrica was completely self-funded by its shareholders. BioAfrica has proved that anyone can start with nothing but a planed dream and become an industry leader. It only takes hard work, strict financial planning and perseverance.

BioAfrica specializes in the contract farming of medical herbs and the development of quality seeds. We promote farming methods geared towards high yield, high return products, but remain environmentally sound. All our essential oil extraction is completely CO2 neutral.

BioAfrica wishes to thank the many very different people who contributed in their own special way to what BioAfrica has become. These include our past and present directors, employees, shareholders. Our many many satisfied customers who paid good money for the "Beyond Innovation" BioAfrica experience by directly benefiting from our quality products and services.

Some Bio Mile-Stones

  • 1999 BioAfrica founded by Steph Hartung as a sole proprietor
  • 2001 1st Project Funded By CARE in Lesotho -Planted 5 ha of Chamomile
  • 2001 Nathan Emery joined as head of Beekeeping and Development consulting
  • 2002 Incorporated as Geo BioAfrica (Pty) Ltd
  • 2002 Neville Huxham joined BioAfrica as Head of BA Projects
  • 2002 Fanie Linde produced 1st 50kg seed for BioAfrica
  • 2002 Produced 1st Bio Diesel for use in boilers for steam extraction
  • 2003 Produced & sold 250 kg of essential oil that year
  • 2003 Designed & built 1st CO2 neutral 500kg/ha Steam boiler
  • 2004 Planted 80 ha Chamomile, 15 ha Marjoram
  • 2004 Pinky Duma joins BioAfrica as head of International Sales & Marketing
  • 2005 Planted 150 ha Chamomile, 30 ha Marjoram, 15 ha Thyme
  • 2005 Designed & built 1 ton microwave essential oils steam distillation machine.
  • 2005 Designed & built Chamomile picker.
  • 2006 Planted more 150 ha Chamomile, 40ha yarrow, 55 ha thyme and 10 holy thistle.
  • 2006 Produced, packed & sold BioAfrica cosmetic range from natural BioAfrica products

Bio Facts

  • Currently BioAfrica is contracted to over 45 contract farmers producing more than 3t of plant extracts per year.
  • BioAfrica has developed a unique Bio diesel process costing 35% less than other processes.
  • BioAfrica director and international Honey Bee consultant Nathan Emery has worked in India, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Angola, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Uganda and Lesotho.
  • The BioAfrica cosmetic range has created over 50 full-time and nearly 300 part time jobs for previously disadvantaged South Africans.

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