Global farmers' market
We create access to market and supply first-class foodstuffs direct from farmers to you.
What we do
We make our expertise in the areas of quality, logistics and trade available to producers and enable them to export their product for the first time via our access-to-market platform – the first step towards market access. Furthermore, we invest in various producing countries, where we work with farming families and local processors to develop sustainable and marketable products. We sell these products to consumers by the most direct route possible according to the principle "Worldwide direct from the farm". In this way, we contribute to the structures of smallholders and local processing to ensure that these remain intact in the long term and that they deliver excellent products at the same time.
How we work:
- We enter into contracts with the farming families and pay them a proper price, advise on organic cultivation and organise certifications.
- We process the products as locally as possible and create jobs as a result.
- We invest in the countries of origin and so take huge risks. We stay even when things get difficult because we believe that trust, courage and patience are necessary for real development.
- By establishing a direct link between producers and consumers, intermediary trade is eliminated wherever possible. As a result, our products meet the highest standards yet are still affordable.
- Our sales units are larger than is usual in the retail trade because we leave the products just as they were when they were packed in their country of origin as far as possible. This saves on additional transportation and packaging material.
Find out more about our work in our latest annual report (in German).
How we see it:
- Globalisation is an opportunity for farmers in the South. However, fair conditions for trade as well as fair customs duties and subsidies are essential.
- We have the highest demands with regard to social justice and sustainability. We scrutinise existing structures and also our own actions, which are often insufficient or contradictory. We concentrate on step-by-step, concrete improvements and also communicate problems – not just success.
- Our relationship with certifications is ambivalent. Clear and strict standards are important, but their implementation and inspection is laborious, bureaucratic and expensive. We see sustainability as a holistic concept, which extends beyond standards and certifications. You can download the gebana guidelines in relation to organic cultivation and fair trade here.
- We use our network to tackle concrete problems and political problems together with our producers, for example: Smallholders against pesticides, Dates for Tunisia, Campaign Olive Oil, Chiapas Zapatista Cooperatives
gebana AG was founded in 1998 as a trading company. The aim was to link social and ecological values to economic sustainability and to establish sustainable supply chains for foodstuffs. gebana soon began processing locally and investing in support for farmers in the South. In this way, partner companies were gradually formed in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Togo and Benin. The risks associated with such investments and also the unique proximity to the farmers are what make gebana stand out today.
In 2003, gebana started to sell its products from the South via mail order and opened the first organic and fair trade online shop in Switzerland. The direct link between farming families and consumers was thus created, which remains unique to this day.
In 2009, gebana slid into crisis as a difficult market environment and the large risks in the producing countries caught up with the small company. The fact that gebana survived is thanks to the company's indomitable will not to give up, but above all to the thousands of customers, colleagues, suppliers, partners and investors who supported gebana in the crisis.
From this experience, gebana redefined itself in 2015 – as a network of farmers, customers and partners that delivers first-class, sustainable products. The purpose of this network is to create access to market for producers in disadvantaged regions.
The Banana Women
The origins of gebana date back to the early 1970s. The Banana Women publicly questioned the traditional, exploitative structures of the banana trade and stand today as the pioneers of fair trade in Switzerland. From the 1980s, the women's group led by Ursula Brunner named themselves the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft gerechter Bananenhandel" (Working Group for a Fair Banana Trade) – or gebana for short.
To this day, the body of thought of the Banana Women is an important pillar for our actions: Thoughts on fair trade from gebana founder Ursula Brunner.