En route from the tree to you, our organic mangos go on an exciting journey. Our customer advisory board suggested we take you along for the ride.
Mango trees grow almost everywhere in Burkina Faso, where the climate offers the ideal conditions for the fruit. The family farmers prune the trees so that they can still reach the fruits at the very top with a hand net when harvesting. They also plough the soil so that it absorbs nutrients and the grass doesn't grow too high, as this would increase the risk of fire in the dry season.
The family farmers keep coming back to the field throughout the summer to harvest the fruits that are nearly ripe. They can't allow them to ripen completely, otherwise the fruits will turn to mush while being transported to the drying facility. But the farmers are experienced and go by the colour, scent and consistency.
The harvested mangos are stacked along the edge of the property and picked up by a collector, usually on a three-wheeled motorcycle with a cargo carrier, who brings them to the village. From there, an employee from the mango drying facility picks them up in a small lorry.
Once the mangos have arrived at the drying facility, the employees sort them and then weigh them to determine the price. The fruit is then placed in a large basin, covered and allowed to ripen for a few days. Finally, the employees sort the fruit again and then rinse it several times with water to remove any dust or soil.
The fresh fruits are now brought to the drying factory, where they are processed by different teams of women: Some of them peel the fruit, others cut them into slices, then the next team arranges the slices on fabric-covered drying racks.
The next, more strenuous step is reserved for men. They place the slices into the oven, where they are left to dry for about 18-20 hours. But the men don't just sit around
twiddling their thumbs while they wait. The racks need to be rotated every two hours, top to bottom and back to front. This ensures that the mangos dry evenly, day or night.
Once the mangos have dried, they are taken out of the oven, allowed to cool and removed from the fabric. It has been about 24 hours since the fruit was washed. In the room next door, employees inspect the mangos, weeding out any pieces that are too dark or dry. If any are too large, they make them smaller. After sorting the mango slices by quality, the workers put them into plastic bags and pack them into boxes. These boxes are then transported to our subsidiary, gebana Burkina Faso.
Our employees carry out a thorough incoming inspection: Are the size, grade, colour and moisture content in line with the order and specifications? Did the right papers come with the shipment? They are needed to guarantee complete traceability.
Since any customer complaints will be handled by gebana and not by the drying companies, gebana Burkina Faso is much stricter with quality control. Some of the fruits are sorted again and put back into the original bags. Our employees are very experienced and enjoy better employment conditions. As a result, there is considerably less employee turnover than with the dryers. But the extra costs involved pay off in the long term.
The next step is the metal detector test, after which the oxygen is sucked out of the bags and replaced with a mixture of CO2 and nitrogen. The sealed bags are labelled and ready for export.
The mangos, still at gebana Burkina Faso, are now loaded into a shipping container, which can accommodate about 20 tonnes of dry mangos. Once sealed, it remains closed until it reaches the Netherlands. Unless train service is disrupted for some reason, the container is transported by rail to the port of Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire, where it is loaded directly onto a ship. After two to three weeks at sea, the container arrives in Rotterdam or Antwerp and is transferred to the gebana warehouse in the Netherlands.
Upon delivery at the high-bay warehouse, a quick inspection is carried out to determine whether the quantity, packaging and the colour of the slices are correct. After the incoming inspection, the fruit is sent to our shipping warehouse in Otelfingen, Switzerland, where a fourth and final inspection is carried out. Our experienced warehouse staff takes random samples of the dried fruit and checks them for taste, colour and consistency. If everything is in order, the team sticks on a label with all the required legal information, adds a logo sticker to the goods and stores them according to the expiry date and lot number.
As soon as a customer orders the mangos, the information is forwarded to our warehouse team, who take the mangos from the shelf and pack them into a cardboard box along with any other products that have been ordered. On weekdays, the post office collects and then ships all parcels by the afternoon. Two to three days later, the postman brings the delicious fruits from Burkina Faso to your door. And what happens to them after that? That's for you to decide. Whatever you do, we hope you enjoy these West African mangos to the fullest.
Mangos are very delicate, which is why a lot of waste is often generated when shipping them. The fruits are easily bruised and when this happens, they can no longer be used. This leads to financial losses for the dryers and family farmers.
In recent years, our customers have been buying mango crates for the dryers in exchange for dried mangos. The crates are lined with leaves to protect the delicate fruits from bruising during transport from the farmer to the dryer. This significantly reduces the amount of waste so that all of the fruit can be processed. The crates are also a great help for the dryers. Two employees can easily pick one up and move it together, instead of having just one woman carry the entire load on her
head. Not only does this make the work easier, but it is also safer.
Two good reasons why the mango dryers would be happy to receive even more crates. Here's what we propose: You buy a mango crate for the dryers, we take it to Burkina Faso and the dryers will give you a bag of dried mangos in return once they have received the box. How does that sound?
Order now in our online shop – here if you're in Switzerland or here if you're in the EU.
Would you like to read "The mango's journey" again or share it with your family and friends? Download the blog article as a PDF (in German).
gebana AG, Ausstellungsstrasse 21, 8005 Zürich, Schweiz
gebana AG, Ausstellungsstrasse 21, 8005 Zürich, Schweiz
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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.
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