In January 2022, Organic Trade and Investments (OTI) and Grupo Inndar SRL made history by becoming the first companies to get gluten-free fonio flour into Uruguay.

This success marks the start of what is set to be a mutually beneficial lifetime business partnership between the two entities. It is also a big boost for  OTI’s mission to re-introduce this lost African superfood into people’s diets.

This Uruguayan market breakthrough comes after years of attempting to get the grain authenticated in Latin America, a process that was characterized by challenges on different levels.

On the part of Organic Trade and Investments (OTI), founder and Managing Director Esther  Asante recognized that “It has taken us almost four years to get everything set and ready. We have come a long way, indeed.”

This partnership comes after the European Commission approved the marketing of Fonio in December 2018.

Grupo Inndar SRL’s CEO, Victor Vaccani, remarked that his company’s success came “less than three years later”. Registered as an Import and Trading Company based in Uruguay and Argentina, Grupo Inndar SRL is authorized to import, distribute, and sell processed fonio products from West Africa under the brand name, “FONIO IRE”. The brand has been given the repackaging rights to resell the OTI gluten-free fonio flour.

“With a current health emergency, we were the first to acquire authorization to market across the Latin American region,” he added.

“We found that Uruguay’s contribution to food biodiversity aligns with what we so much advocate at Grupo Inndar, making this country the first in the region to approve this traditional food.”

What is Fonio?

Fonio: /ˈfəʊnjəʊ/, is a cereal grown in some Western African countries.

It is an indigenous crop with two cultivated species: white Fonio (Digitaria exilis), whose roots can be traced to Senegal to Chad and black fonio (Digitaria iborua) which is mainly grown in Nigeria as well as in the northern regions of Togo and Benin.

Although this crop, which is one of the oldest African cereals, is described as a ‘miracle grain’, it has lost its fame due to various reasons – colonialism and westernization, being on top of the list.

Fonio flour and fonio grain can easily be incorporated into one’s everyday diet, thanks to the texture and versatility they bring to diverse fonio recipes. The flour can be used for baking while the grains can be used as a substitute for rice in several rice-based dishes.

Background

With the growing consciousness of good health, the global demand for natural and organic foods is growing.

The pandemic boosted the global organic industry around the world and brought up to a 40% increase in demand over the last year. The market for organic products has been growing exponentially for 20 years yet it is always unsatisfied, with the demand outgrowing the supply. Organic products experienced significant growth in 2020, garnering big increases in terms of sales and volume.

From the gastronomic sector, generating added value to its offer and arising from necessity, the gluten-free trend has come to stay in diets, both for people with or without medical conditions.

There is a growing market for vegan practices. It is estimated that 5% of the world’s population is vegetarian or vegan. In Uruguay, 120,000 people are vegetarian and/or vegan. 64% reside in Montevideo, 14% in Canelones and 9% in Maldonado.

Meanwhile, 40% of the world population has a genetic predisposition to be celiac, but only 1% develop the disease. For every case of celiac disease diagnosed, there are 5 to 10 that go undetected.

According to the ADU (Uruguayan Diabetic Association) and the ACELU (Uruguayan Celiac Association), 10% of the Uruguayan population is diabetic and 1% suffers from celiac disease. Taking these statistics into account, around 340,000 diabetics and 34,000 celiacs along with their respective families would benefit from the arrival of this cereal.

The introduction of OTI’s gluten-free fonio grain and flour will complement the ongoing movement toward healthier foods.

About Grupo Inndar S.R.L

Grupo Inndar S.R.L is a family business that has been in existence in Uruguay since 2019, created for the importation, exportation, distribution, and marketing of healthy 100% organic foods. The company’s mission is to innovate for food diversity.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Víctor Vaccani, discovered Fonio, on one of his trips in a quest to find organic and innovative foods. It was “love at first sight” when he discovered the “miracle grain”.

With his passion in medicine, the young doctor has been bent on spreading the African superfood to numerous people to generate healthier communities.

Valeria Vaccani, the Chief Operation Officer (COO) at the company, possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in International Trade and is a Customs Broker and Customs Transport Agent.

She has 30 years of experience in providing services and advising over 40 companies on international trade. She decided to combine her passion for work and nature by bringing healthy food closer to the people in Latin America.

Grupo Inndar’s vision is to remain the main distributor of Fonio grains, Fonio flour, and its derived products, in Uruguay and the rest of Latin America. This is owing to the fact that there is a lack of gluten-free products in MERCOSUR countries.

To purchase OTI Fonio products in Uruguay and its surrounding areas, contact the official pages of the distributors on their website (Fonio IRE) or on social media.

If you are an importer or a wholesaler of fonio in Latin America, please contact Grupo Inndar SRL.

Send an Email or call +54 (0)9 11 4024-1170 for your Fonio inquiries.

OTI’s organic Fonio grain and flour products are also available for shipment worldwide, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In Ghana, the main distributor of OTI Fonio flour and OTI Fonio grain products is Back To Eden Healthy Foods.

About Organic Trade and Investments

Organic Trade & Investments (OTI) is a supplier of authentic gluten-free organic Fonio grain and flour among other organic natural products from Africa. These products range from aphrodisiacs, aromatic plants, consumables, medicines, spices, and some OTI branded products.

It is a subsidiary of Global Africa Trade & Investments (GATI), also an e-commerce commerce platform.

Established in 2017, the award-winning company operates a fully-virtual working system that has been praised for excellence and quality assurance. The agribusiness company currently exports to 42 countries across Asia, Europe and the MEA regions.

All products sold by the company are sourced primarily from local farmers in parts of Ghana who are carefully selected and trained to deliver optimum results.

OTI is also a certified member of She Trades, the Ghana Trade Hub, the Ghana-Sweden Chambers of Commerce, and the International Trade Council. Thus, making them a credible brand name within and outside Africa.



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