3rd trip: Back to Togo

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, by Michael Stamm Insights

For the second time this year I went to Lomé. This time the stay was much shorter and it is a crucial time since it is right at the beginning of the cocoa and soya harvest.

Summit on maritime safety

Still on the plane, I realized that my timing was really bad: on that very day, the African Union extraordinary summit on Maritime’s security and safety aims was beginning. The presidents of 30 African countries arrived in their jets to discuss about Africa’s economic and social development.
This is a big diplomatic success for Togo as such initiative has been realized by the Togolese president and all countries adopted a binding charter. But for me, it meant taking rounds with the airplane for a half an hour before we were allowed to land.
And that was just the beginning of the delays! After I got my visa at the airport, the Gebana Togo CEO Patrick Eboe took me to the hotel. But, of course, most of the main streets in the city were closed to allow the president free ride. In the end, I decided to sleep in another hotel, which was ultimately very comfortable. And the next day I learned that my delays compared to the children in Togo were simply nothing: The school in the whole country started a month later than usual because of the summit!

Visiting the new gebana office in Badou

Gebana Togo recently decided to open an office in Badou in the litimé region, which is located 4 hours drive northwest of the capital. The region (really close to Ghana) is known as an important producing area for cocoa. Also from the main street you can see plenty of cocoa trees. Gebana’s strategy is to get as close as possible to the producers to sensitize them in organic and Fairtrade agriculture. So far, all feedbacks are really positive and producers understand their own benefits of such practices. But of course some conventional companies which are working there for years are not really happy about our appearance...

Team in Badou, Togo

The team in Badou is composed of 1 accountant, 2 agronomists, 1 quality responsible, 1 driver, one warehouse manager.

Cocoa processing, Togo

There is a small processing unit where cocoa is dried and sorted in order to reach the standards for international export.

New potential farmers in Kpalime

After my stay in Badou we went to Kpalimé where I had the opportunity to visit a new potential producer that cultivates cocoa using the best practices in place. The producing family has a huge field where decided to grow cocoa trees three years ago. Their project is beautiful as they managed to employ people to work in their plantation, raising the employment rate in the region. They are building small house for the family workers and propose free class at school for the children of the community. The path to get to their farm was somehow chaotic, but the experience very beautiful.