WHO WE ARE
Tropicool S.A. is an Agribusiness Company, initiated in 2018 by Ad Wehlburg and Diana Sandoval Mite, engaged and highly experienced in sustainable contract farming, with production and export of different agricultural products, besides offering consultancies of sustainable agriculture in general. After having worked for multinationals in many countries around the world, Ad Wehlburg was sent to Ecuador in the nineties to set up a dark air-cured wrapper tobacco leaf operation. Once it became the world leader in the production of wrapper tobacco leaf some thirteen years later, Ad decided to do something different, he wanted to start his own company, an always cherished dream.
In 2017, Ad and his wife Diana Sandoval Mite put their professional experience together, and as a team, they started the concept of an agri-business company that, while concentrating on quality products, keeps a keen eye on sustainability: to organically grow a business that is socially inclusive, environmentally friendly and with good governance. Ad grew up with a specific interest in nature, he has always been fascinated by the amazing beauty of our blue planet. As a professional, Ad promoted good agricultural practices in many developing and developed countries around the world. Diana has worked personally and professionally for a better environment for people in general, and more specifically for a pleasant workplace. A place with clear rules and duties, a place where respect for and development of human capital is seen as a key element to a company’s success.
Hence, Tropicool S.A. was established. An agri-business company in a busy, warm, and humid tropical country, whilst keeping “its head cool.” Cool as in not losing your focus, staying calm in sometimes hectic circumstances, and creating a cool workplace where people want to work and are proud to work for. We wanted to establish a company that makes a difference, not only in innovative, sustainable agricultural practices but also in “how it is done.” Tropicool stands firmly by its values: excellence, responsibility, transparency, and reliability. The company´s mission is to provide today’s market with the highest quality agricultural products, produced in a sustainable manner. At Tropicool, we consider environmental science, natural resource management, and innovation as the key areas necessary for the era of sustainable development that we are entering.
“We nurture Pacha Mama so that she will give us the best she can offer in return”
2021 A NEW DIRECTION
During his professional career, Ad has always been engaged in large plantations in the open fields, hundreds of hectares. Traveling through the beautiful Ecuadorian Andes mountains, Ad became interested in horticulture, a well-developed agro-industry at altitude, producing fruits, flowers, and vegetables year-round. Greenhouse farming is in every way easier to organize and control than hundreds of hectares in the open field. Not only can you create the perfect microclimate for your specific crop within a greenhouse, but it also makes managing people a lot easier. While studying this different way of growing different crops in different style greenhouses, Ad felt particularly interested in Hemp. It’s the single plant that can feed us, clothe us, house us, protect the environment and support human health. With more than 60,000 uses (!), hemp can support humankind on almost every level.
Hemp has a rich history of use in human civilization. It was also one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 50,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, rope, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa L. known for its seeds, durable fibers, and high levels of cannabinoids. Unlike its close relative marijuana, hemp plants do not contain significant levels of the psychoactive compound known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which makes it legal to grow in an increasing number of countries and states. Specific hemp strains produce high amounts of specific cannabinoids, mainly in the flowers. Cannabidiol (CBD) is perhaps the most well-known and widely used non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
Today, we thrive on performance, competition, and perfection, which leads to an insidious increase in stress. Stress causes damage that is often underestimated, and it is a social phenomenon that should be closely examined and evaluated. People all around the world are opting out of traditional pharmaceutical drugs in favor of hemp-derived CBD products for social and recreational reasons, as well as health and wellness benefits like calming anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Cannabinoids have potential medical applications for seizures, epilepsy & autism spectrum disorder, spasticity, anorexia, diabetes, Parkinson´s disease, Alzheimer´s disease, Crohn´s disease, cancer and cancer side-effects, arthritis, metabolic disorders, and chronic pain. Cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cells and mice. CBD hemp flower is arguably the most natural and effective way to take CBD. The benefits of consuming hemp flower via inhalation produce fantastic, quick-acting results, without the ill effects of tobacco smoking. CBDs are also extracted from the flower for the making of THC-Free CBD oils, tinctures, gummies, soft gels, skin lotions, creams, and salves.
Choosing high-quality CBD flowers from a reputable grower/brand is crucial. You don’t want to purchase hemp flowers grown in poor, contaminated conditions where harmful pesticides and herbicides are freely used in the cultivation process, or spend your hard-earned money on poor, ineffective products from sketchy sources. Ecuador has an established floriculture sector in the northeastern region of the capital Quito. The same area also appears to be adequate for the cultivation of CBD Hemp flowers in greenhouses. Where in the northern hemisphere you only have one (summer) harvest per calendar year, in greenhouses at a high altitude you can establish a continuous crop. In 2021, Tropicool hired the services of a global cannabis consultancy intending to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture to legally grow and commercialize hemp in Ecuador. Tropicool S.A. got that permit in January 2022, so we are currently setting up a pilot project on leased farmland. This pilot project should give us a good idea of which hemp cultivars give the best quality flowers (i.e., most of the specifically desired cannabinoids).
Since there is no history of hemp cultivation in Ecuador, we will have to do research and trials to see which cultivars and growing methods are best for producing high-quality CBD hemp flowers in our microclimate. It will be a steep learning curve for everyone involved. Once we get good results with different hemp cultivars and we understand how to grow and process them, we will start looking for land to buy for commercial expansion. Our goal is to produce high-quality hemp flowers in the Ecuadorian Andes mountains for export to Europe. The biomass will be sold locally as every part of the hemp plant can be used. Hemp is an environmentally friendly crop and can be grown sustainably. Therefore, it contributes to the core business of Tropicool S.A.: helping the local economy grow in a socially responsible, environmentally friendly manner, with good governance. We enter de age of sustainability with great confidence.