gebana experienced significant growth again in 2021 and once again generated more revenue than in the previous year. This growth enabled us to make global trade a bit fairer and a tad more sustainable.
COVID-19 was still a part of our daily lives in 2021. However, the pandemic had little effect on business after the first few months, with online sales growing at a moderate pace after the first quarter. But things really took off for our subsidiaries in Brazil and Togo. You can read more about these developments in our annual report.
In addition to our business figures, we measure around 50 different indicators each year to assess the sustainability and fairness of our operations and identify areas that require further improvement.
The following passages and graphs are taken from this sustainability report. The figures are also included in our annual report.
Although we didn't expand our gebana model – which we refer to as our sharing approach – to new countries in 2020, its scope did increase significantly. We managed to more than triple the amount of premiums paid out over the past two years.
The total share of our revenue that remains in the South increased to 83 per cent, our record high, which we previously achieved in 2017.
We are working with an ever-growing number of family farmers in West Africa. An additional 877 families in Brazil, Burkina Faso and Togo came on board in 2021. The total number of family farmers is now 10,049.
In 2021, we invested even more in our collaboration with family farmers and the development of better farming methods. 20 per cent more funding went into research and consulting than in the previous year. The key topics were agroforestry, weeds and organic pest control.
In Brazil in particular, we work together closely with universities on ways to promote organic farming. This partnership has also led to plans for international collaboration between gebana Brazil and gebana Togo this year. We'll share more details about this later on.
57 per cent of our assets are invested in the South. In 2021 alone, we invested more than 1 million euros in the South, primarily in Burkina Faso. Additional sums will be invested this year and next year, as we are building a brand new local factory. To read more about this, visit our project page.
The investments shown in the graph below are the fixed assets invested in the South. They are calculated as a percentage of the total assets. Absorbed losses are calculated as the depreciation of assets and write-offs of debt owned by companies in the South.
In most cases, growth in revenue also means more work. So the number of employees at gebana increased again sharply last year by an additional 108 new employees, 32 of them in Europe.
By the end of the year, gebana employed 801 people, 92 per cent of whom were located outside of Europe. During our busiest period – right after the mango and cashew harvest – 927 people throughout the world worked for gebana.
The number of jobs shown in the graph below is calculated as a yearly average in order to factor in the seasonal jobs added during and right after the harvest season.
A good deal more women than men work at gebana throughout the world. Women are still under-represented in management in the Global South.
In 2021, the lowest wages in the South were above the national minimum wage, with no exceptions. At 33 per cent above minimum wage, our wages in Togo have the smallest distance to the minimum wage. Wages continue to be one of the top priorities in our work.
The graph below shows the wages in the lowest wage category compared to the national minimum wage, including revenue sharing.
As expected, the share of certified organic products in our range increased again in 2021, reaching 90 per cent.
The share of products delivered to our customers' homes directly from family farmers was 51.1 per cent, around 1 percentage point higher than in the previous year.
More good news: The share of products that are never repackaged rose to 73.6 per cent.
The share of products shipped by air freight, which is only used for fresh pineapples from Togo, decreased from 2.5 to 2.3 per cent of our online sales. Attempts to eliminate air freight entirely and transport the delicate Sugarloaf pineapples by ship unfortunately failed.
This year we are trying to find a solution by simulating transport methods on site. Transporting fresh pineapples by ship will not be an option until our simulations are successful.
gebana employees receive one third of the revenue. Half of that goes to the people in the Global South, while the other half goes to the people in the North. The revenue from 2021 is the equivalent of around 17 per cent of the annual wage for each employee in the South and just under 6 per cent in the North.
You can read more about our sharing approach in our blog article "How we share sales and profits".
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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.