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.
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!
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...
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.
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Smallholders and local producers harvest and refine products of extraordinary quality worldwide. But for many of these producers there is no adequate or stable market. You can buy directly from these producers via the Access to Market Platform and help them to participate in the market. The principle behind this is crowd ordering – a new trade model whereby a number of consumers order a product together so as to achieve a minimum order quantity. We at gebana support the producers with our know-how, and organise the logistics.
Enable someone to make their first export with your order. Please note: Unexpected events often lead to delays, and you may find that the quality is not yet perfect. For this reason, your feedback is absolutely essential. The export experience and your feedback are important steps for the producers towards accessing the market. As a customer, you are witness to the whole process, playing your part in pioneering work.
You can order from these producers simply and directly. You receive your product as soon as the minimum order quantity has been reached and the products are ready. The risk for you is minimal, since the producers already have a product that is ready for market. This sales channel is beneficial to both the producers and the consumers, since it cuts out the middle man.
Be part of the development of supply chains and support innovation! Some of the ways you can do this include testing new products, giving feedback, or financially supporting the producers in their next steps. In doing so, you will be able to see for yourself how the products and supply chains develop.
This is where you can see all the completed projects on the Access to Market Platform at a glance. You can find out where products are now available from or whether the producers are still seeking a trade partner.