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As soon as the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan in 1991, the U.S. began to invest sizable sums of money to rehabilitate agriculture and encourage refugees to return to their homelands. Denzil Phillips led an HVH team to begin to rehabilitate the horticultural sector in Afghanistan which before the war was a major exporter of fresh fruit (melons, apples, pomegranates) dried fruits (raisins and apricots) nuts (pistachios and walnuts) and medicinal herbs and spices (liquorice, asa foetida, cumin). Surveys of pre-war and post war trade conditions were made to see how export rehabilitation could be accomplished. Nurseries were established, packhouses repaired and training courses organised for prospective Pakistan based returning refugees.
Armenia has been a major supplier of horticultural produce to the big cities of Russia for many years. It has over 78,000 hectares of orchards and vineyards. In addition, wild herbs grow abundantly in the hills. The war with neighbouring Azerbaijan has taken a grave toll on the economy. Most of the State run agro-enterprise no longer functions effectively. In 1997 Denzil Phillips International tried to procure Armenian geranium oil which was widely grown, processed and exported to Russian perfume manufacturers. Although large stocks of oil existed, the production base is largely destroyed and no new plantings have been made. Further activities involved advising a small private exporter of herbs and spices on his marketing and export promotion strategy. The company procures wild and cultivated herbs and spices such as thyme, tarragon, basil and coriander and packs them in retail bags for export mainly to street vendors and catering establishments in Moscow.
Home of the European Union and many multinational companies, Belgium is the base for many of Denzil Phillips International’s most important assignments. The company has been working closely with the ACP-EU Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) for more than five years as an advisor on a wide range of projects involving herbals and pharmaceuticals, including technical support for a Kava stakeholders meeting to try to lift the EU ban on this Pacific herbal. Denzil Phillips International was also recently contracted by Capsugel, a subsiduary of Pfizer, to examine new ways of utilising their soft and hard shell capsules.
Formerly a leading centre for medicinal plant collection and processing, Bosnia-Herzegovina, along with the remaining Balkan states, suffered heavily from the recent civil war. Denzil Phillips International has been involved in attempts to rebuild both the infrastructure and the image of this region as a prime supplier of medicinal plants and essential oils. Commissioned in 2001 by IFC’s South East European Development Facility, the company undertook a review of the regional herbal industry and helped organise a Balkan Herbs Business Forum in Portoroz, Slovenia, the first meeting of producers and exporters of medicinal plants and herbal medicines since the end of the war in 1998.
Bulgaria has always been a world centre for essential oils and natural products and Pharmachim was once one of the world’s largest producers of fragrance, flavours and pharmaceutical ingredients. Denzil Phillips’s first visit to Bulgaria in 1984 was to persuade the world famous Institute of Roses and Medicinal Plants in Kazanlik to send a delegation to Pakistan to consider establishing a joint venture to produce essential oils. A further visit in 1987 to the World Essential Oil Congress in Varna in 1987 was followed by a mission for Genebank Ltd to sell tissue culture labs to local firms. Denzil Phillips International maintains strong links with leading Bulgarian exporters of medicinal and aromatic plants and regularly sources natural products from this high-quality supplier.
This French and English speaking country has a rich agricultural and forest heritage and is an important producer of coffee and cocoa. It is also a world source of Yohimbe and Pygeum Africanum, both of which are used to produce valuable phyto-chemicals used in western medicine. Denzil Phillips’s first visits to Cameroon, in 1985, were at a time when structural adjustment policies had just started to take hold. An evaluation of African Development Bank coffee and cocoa projects highlighted the fact that the co-operative sector was on the verge of collapse and the rural banking system in need of complete overhaul. Further direct experience of the problems and potential of Cameroon occurred some years later whilst working on a USAID funded HVH coffee rehabilitation project and a design mission for a frozen fruit and vegetable factory.
Denzil Phillips International’s experience in Latin America has so far been limited. We hope to change this as we embark upon new projects in Chile, a country which has become famous for its horticulture. Heavy investments in the production of apples, grapes, berry fruits and other Mediterranean products in the 1980’s has enabled Chile to become one of the major off season suppliers of fresh produce to western markets. Diversification into processed products began more recently, especially into wine, fruit juices and frozen product. We will be working on two projects, one with an organisation cultivating aromatic plants and distilling essential oils for the U.S markets, the other with a wine and juice company that wishes to diversify into value added grape by-products and other related plant extracts. This involves screening and phytochemical analysis of grapes from different regions of the country, the establishment of a modern analytical laboratory and the formulation of a number of high polyphenolic juices and extracts from Chilean grape. Both projects are a radical departure from Chile’s traditional export products and will hopefully pave the way to other activities of this nature in the region.
China will surely be the world’s most important producer and consumer of herbal products within the coming decade; both in the field of medicinal and of aromatic plants, Chinese industry is modernising rapidly. In 2001, Denzil Phillips International signed a memorandum of association with the China Academy for Traditional Chinese Medicine, through this agreement efforts are underway to organise an international business forum on herbal medicine as well as to promote speciality botanicals such as white and green tea. Long term links with extractors in Xian province reinforce the company's already strong links with this country.
Vanilla and Ylang Ylang oil represent a massive 90% of the export earnings of this isolated and politically unstable group of Indian Ocean islands. Denzil Phillips’s experience in 1992 involved preparing HVH’s successful multi million dollar tender to assist the government of the Republic of Comores increase the exports of these products. A technical and management team was selected and recruited for the assignment and several visits were made to the Comores to meet senior officials. The team assessed the quality of the vanilla and the supply situation and to evaluated the potential for import of ylang ylang oil into Europe. Visits were made to key spice and essential oil importers in France, the Netherlands and the UK to assess their requirements for vanilla.
Cote d’Ivoire was one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. By 1990 however, the economy stagnated due to an over-valued currencie and excessive government contol of the economy. As a result of structural adjustment, a number of innovative export projects were developed in the mid 1990’s, all of which have helped the economy to slowly recover. In 1992, Denzil Phillips, on an HVH mission, advised on the acquisition and rehabilitation of old citrus plantations and the setting up of a large new plantation to create a major operation producing and processing, amongst others, bergamot, bitter orange and lemon peel essential oils. Activities included extensive market surveys, product testing, sourcing of processing equipment and development of a long term marketing plan. The crash in Italian Bergamot prices in 1994 and 1995 hindered the rehabilitation efforts but as prices and stock now begin to return to more normal levels the enterprise is developing well. In 1998, Denzil Phillips International was called in to advise Tropico on the development of a pineapple juice project in the south east of the country. The project, which aims to export both concentrate and single strength juice to Europe and the USA required assistance both in terms of marketing linkages and technology design and support.
In the last ten years Dubai has developed from a trading port into a manufacturing town with extensive tourism, banking and mass market retail operations. As a result, Dubai is one of the most important centres for the sale of a wide range of food and flavour and fragrance products which are refined locally, packaged and marketed throughout the region. Denzil Phillips International has developed good contacts not only with local companies involved involved in the import of fresh produce from East Africa, India and Pakistan but also with companies refining and bottling perfumes, cosmetics and processed food products. Detailed investigations of the UAE market for incense products, perfumes, dried fruits, rose water and frozen fruit and vegetables have been completed during a series of visits in recent years.
Ever since the days of Cleopatra, Egypt has been closely associated with the perfume and cosmetics industry while Alexandria has long been a centre of learning for herbal medicines. Denzil Phillips’s first visit to Egypt was in 1984 to present a paper at the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades (IFEAT) Conference in Cairo. Apart from meeting all the major exporters in this sector, he visited many of the growing areas. The Egyptian fragrance and flavours industry has become one of the most sophisticated in the region, with companies exporting not just raw materials but also finished products to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Contact has been maintained with many of these companies and we source products like Jasmine, Geranium, Basil and Chamomile from Egypt. In 2000, Denzil Phillips International advised USAID contractor Ronco on the rehabilitation and modernisation of the Egyptian medicinal and aromatic plant industry. Working in association with the Colorado based Herb Research Foundation, the company developed plans for organic certification, centralised quality assurance and analysis, as well as a strategy to develop the Sinai peninsula as a centre of herbs and spices.
Denzil Phillips International undertakes a number of assignments in French speaking countries and has good relations with French commercial and research organisations. Our links with the perfume industry in Grasse are particularly strong. Denzil Phillips undertook a series of market research and trade promotion missions to France including research on the history of perfumery at Grasse and several visits for HVH to SIAL and the fruit and vegetable market at Rungis. Other assignments include a review of the French spice import sector and the market for herbal medicines. Denzil Phillips International has recently been investigating the French market for tropical fruit juice and concentrate.
Gambia provided Denzil Phillips with his first taste of Africa. His two year assignment for the International African Institute in 1982 provided an excellent insight into the problems of development in drought-prone West Africa and demonstrated the potential for better exploitation of its natural resource base. Extensive practical experience of small-farm peanut, maize and bean product was gained during this period. Further assignments to Gambia included an HVH mission in 1993 to design a horticultural export operation based in green beans, mangoes and asian vegetables and other visits looking at non timber products such as lime oil, karite and gum arabic.

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