Amigos International and Masarang palm sugar

Amigos International is the name of the company that distributes Masarang palm sugar in Europe since late 2011.

Both graduates from Wageningen University, Bastiaan Bais (forestry) and Jeroen Kruft (developmental sociology) started Amigos in 2005, after setting up a farmer cooperation in the coffee region in Ecuador, with a vision to provide access for organic and fair trade products to the European market. Amigos promotes products that have an added value for the local economy, always combined with a reforestation aspect.

Bas and Jeroen got very enthusiastic about the work of Masarang when Frank Bouman of SEM in Utrecht showed them Willie’s TED talk, so they were happy when Willie Smits asked them to help reforesting Indonesia, through their business network. It was (and is) a dream for Amigos to once see Indonesia completely green again and to undo the damage that we as humanity have done.

Jeroen Kruft, Bastiaan Bais and Theo Smits at the SIAL trade fair, Paris, October 2014

The packaging was completely renewed by Bastiaan in 2012. The orangutan hand symbolizes our goal… “Stop the madness!”

Masarang palm sugar is currently sold in shops in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria. Two employees have been added to strengthen the Amigos: Marianne van Lankvelt (shop sales and promotion) and Maricela Molina (financial administration); she transfers part of the revenue to the Masarang Foundation to provide scholarships for Indonesian students at the end of each year.

he Amigos also often use the palmsugar at home, like here with Jeroen’s organic Glühwein!

Amigos is also developing new spin-offs, such as palm sugar sirup, palm sugar – ginger drinks, liquorice and chocolate with palm sugar, together with Theo Smits, Advisor to the sugar factory and Masarang Foundation in Tomohon. This way Amigos and Masarang hope to sell even more palm sugar and stimulate the development of the reforestation projects in Indonesia.