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The most impressive feature of the mango tree is its lush, glossy green. The long, oblong-shaped leaves, which can be up to 30 centimeters in length and are arranged in rosettes at the tips of the branches, form a dense, shade-giving crown which is interspersed with orange-pink highlights provided by the young leaves. Photo: naturamus GmbH
The mango tree has an imposing presence: it can live for more than 300 years, over which time it slowly and steadily assumes a proud, gnarled appearance. Its heavy, juicy fruit is wonderfully sweet. You can almost taste the intense sun of India, which ripens the fruits over several weeks. When Nanalal Satra walks through the mango groves cultivated by his local suppliers, his heart swells. “It brings me such pleasure to see the yellow-red flowers turn into these magnificent fruits,” says the entrepreneur. “We are very proud and happy of the fact that our company now processes not only the seeds, but the flesh as well.”
A pioneering decision
It has been a long journey for Nanalal Satra – but his efforts and risks have paid off. For many years, he focused only on the processing of organic mango seeds as the basis for organically certified mango butter. He started off working with a regional fruit processor, buying the stones and processing them at his own production site. But this is a logistically challenging undertaking in such a hot and humid climate, as the risk of spoilage is very high. Not willing to compromise on quality, Satra eventually faced a difficult choice: either he would have to close his mango seed processing business, or he would need to begin processing the entire fruit, thereby creating a broader economic basis. With WALA’s support, he chose the second option. And though it certainly proved to be the right decision, it required high initial investments. Nanalal Satra built a new production hall at the headquarters of his Castor Products Company in northern India, where he has been producing organic castor oil for WALA since 2008. He also invested in the necessary machinery. Three local farmers, on whom he can rely one hundred percent, started supplying him with organic mangos – and a new mango pulp business was born.
Interview with Nanalal Satra, Owner Castor Products Company
Selling to Germany and France
Satra takes a mango in his hand, inhales the scent, and explains: “Unlike other producers, we only use the best, fully mature Kesar fruits to make our organic mango pulp. This means we don’t need to add any sugar.”
With his first batch of mango pulp produced in 2016, Nanalal Satra has now been operating in this new field for three years – while still continuing to sell the seeds to WALA. By now, pulp production is running smoothly and the processes are well established. The number of seasonal employees working for Castor Products Company is also growing. Several customers in Germany and France purchase this mango pulp – including smaller ice cream parlours that still produce high-quality ice cream by hand. Another sales partner is the WALA subsidiary naturamus, which sells this certified organic mango pulp at WALA’s own Sonnenhof farm near Bad Boll and in selected shops.
Mangos delight the taste buds with their wonderful sweetness. You can almost taste the intense sun of India, which ripens the fruits over several weeks. Photo: naturamus GmbH
In order to obtain the mango butter, the stones first need to be dried in the sun for a number of days. Following this, the stones can be cut open by hand and the seeds removed for further drying. Photo: naturamus GmbH
Although mango butter is an important raw material for cosmetics manufacturers, it has never been available in organic quality. That is, until WALA set the wheels in motion for a raw materials project in India. Photo: naturamus GmbH
WALA brings organic mango butter to the global market
By adding a second pillar to his business, Nanalal Satra can now ensure that WALA will have a reliable source of seeds for its organic mango butter for many years to come. Organic mango butter has only been available on the global market since 2008 – and this was as result of WALA’s cooperation with the Indian Castor Products Company. The two companies were already in a cultivation partnership for the supply of castor oil, which was expanded with the organic mango butter project. The partners worked together closely to define the necessary steps, look for suppliers, develop processing methods, and resolve issues regarding shelf life and transportation. After a trial phase, regular production began. Over the years, Nanalal Satra has continued to optimise the manufacturing process – for example, by developing a tool that enables his employees to crack the mango stones more easily. He has also always been keen to improve the working and living conditions of his employees and suppliers. Satra says that WALA is his role model in this area: “Everything began with WALA. Now, I'm trying to continue to develop in line with WALA’s philosophy.” For him, therefore, the mango pulp project is the next big step on a promising path.
Thomas Weilacher, born in 1962, trained at the Schwäbische Zeitung. He worked for several years as an editor and editor-in-chief before becoming self-employed in 2004. Today he works as a freelance journalist and writes for www.wala.world. He lives and works between Zimmern ob Rottweil and Stuttgart.