Commitment to a sustainable agriculture

Interview with Stephan Paulke, CEO of EgeSun GmbH

Egesun MorgenLand Coconuts
The MorgenLand organic project in Mali shows how organic can contribute to positive development even in a difficult political and social environment

Sustainable organic food is playing an increasingly important role in our society. In an age where environmental awareness and health are of central importance, organically grown foods are gaining in significance. EgeSun GmbH, with its brand MorgenLand, is a pioneer in the field of organic agriculture and has been offering organic foods for over 40 years. Wirtschaftsforum talked to CEO Stephan Paulke about sustainable agriculture and how consumers can contribute to promoting the availability and consumption of sustainable organic foods.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Paulke, why do you engage in the field of organic food?

Stephan Paulke: One of the most crucial things, especially after having children, is to consider whether one wants to be part of the solution or part of the problem. With every decision, we show who we are. EgeSun, in my eyes, is an important pioneer in the area of organic themes, committed to spreading sustainable agriculture for future generations. Our aim is to do this internationally. We work excellently with associations like Naturland, Demeter, or Biokreis and are leading the way to also adhere to social standards. We continuously work not only to offer organic products according to EU standards but to develop organic quality further and implement it in meaningful quality products.

Stephan Paulke, Managing Director of EgeSun GmbH
Stephan Paulke, Managing Director of EgeSun GmbH

We can do a lot of good as a role model and especially ensure that the situation in agriculture improves in other countries.

Wirtschaftsforum: What are the major problems that need to be solved?

Stephan Paulke: The fundamental conflict that we do not resolve in our society and also in Europe, is that we fit the landscape into the operational economic conditions and push farmers towards profit maximization, which makes no sense. The farmers are left unprotected in the global competition. As long as we do not change the framework conditions towards meaningful behavior, the turnaround will not work. Pesticide pollution is another big topic with consequences for the environment and our air. The drama around this topic is currently hardly to be surpassed due to EU decisions to further extend the approval of glyphosate and also to allow genetic manipulation. In the alliance for a sustainable agriculture, we are committed to the ecological transformation of the food economy – especially agriculture.

EgeSun MorgenLand Organic Coconut Chips
At BIOFACH in Nuremberg, EgeSun presented the latest Morgenland products
EgeSun MorgenLand Organic Coconut Water

Wirtschaftsforum: How does EgeSun contribute to solving the problem?

Stephan Paulke: The company had a tumultuous history in the 1970s. At BIOFACH in Nuremberg, EgeSun presented the latest MorgenLand products. Managing Director Stephan Paulke has been with EgeSun GmbH for three years, and from this came a business focused on dried fruits, nuts, and coconut products. These are the roots of the MorgenLand brand. We rely on long-term personal contacts with producers around the world. Wherever possible, the products are sourced from our own organic projects. We work with 29 countries worldwide and have amazing projects in Mali or Burkina Faso for mango pieces. Naturland Cashews also come from Africa. In addition, we source wild walnuts and dried plums from the world's oldest walnut forest in Kyrgyzstan.

Wirtschaftsforum: In February, you were at BIOFACH in Nuremberg. What new products did you present there?

Stephan Paulke: At BIOFACH 2024, visitors were able to experience our new brand VeganPete in the ‘Vegan Convenience Food’ sector for the first time, based on jackfruit and banana blossom. Under the MorgenLand brand, coconut chips in various flavors as well as coconut water in glass were presented. In addition, this year demeter coconut oil, cashew kernels, and mango pieces from Mali were particularly in focus – for these products, we received the BestesBio 2024 award from the magazine Schrot&Korn.

EgeSun Plums
EgeSun sources dried plums from the world's oldest walnut primeval forest in Kyrgyzstan in Tunisia
EgeSun Plum Harvest
EgeSun GmbH aims to be a role model and especially ensure that the situation in agriculture improves in other countries

Wirtschaftsforum: What goals do you have for the future, and how can consumers contribute to promoting the availability and consumption of sustainable organic foods?

Stephan Paulke: We have to shift towards packaging options that can re-enter the cycle. Moreover, we should work on the framework conditions, and conventional farmers must be recognized as future allies for the organic sector. The entire organic farms, which I believe represent the sustainable form of agriculture, face significant costs due to pesticides. That's around 100 million EUR per year in additional costs that must be spent on the required proof of innocence. All these are severe disadvantages for the future form of agriculture. Glyphosate and other pesticides must be banned for that reason. We are a committed pioneer of the organic movement and do everything we can to implement the correct concept of a sustainable agriculture and food industry. By purchasing organic products, customers make a conscious decision. Choosing organic changes everything, as they are deciding against pesticides and for a sustainable agriculture and food industry.