Location: Lomé, Togo
Cooperation since: 2000
Number of employees: 50
Number of farmers: 1570 cocoa, 300 pineapple
Products: dried pineapple, cocoa
Certifications: Bio, FLO
The first organic pineapple
The West-African state Togo has witnessed a changeful history and decades of political instability. It was only since the presidency elections in March 2010 that the situation slightly improved. Despite sometimes difficult circumstances gebana has been working closely with the Togolese micro enterprise SE.TRA.PAL in Lomé for already more than 10 years.
SE.TRA.PAL was one of the first to dry organic pineapple in Togo. The company organised the organic and fair trade certification of the farmers and was then able to pay considerably higher prices for their fruit. The elaborate processing of the dried fruit and its export created 50 jobs until today.
Cocoa cultivation: it also works without plantations
Adding to this, gebana has been exporting cocoa of about 1500 Togolese farmers for a few years. Togo is located in the West-African cocoa belt and its hilly regions inside the country are just like those in Ghana or the Ivory Coast perfectly suited for the cocoa cultivation. Due to a lack of investments however the cocoa production in Togo didn't really develop. gebana is now trying to build the first Togolese organic and fair trade cocoa project together with its local partners.
The cocoa farmers of the region Kpalimé about 120km north of the capital Lomé, have on average between 0.25 and 1.5 ha land. On that land, they cultivate biological and strongly diversified agriculture and through that contribute to the preservation of the rich biodiversity. They include the cocoa plants in mixed cultures in the local forests where the plants are protected from too much sun and the ground from erosion in a natural way. Besides that, the farming families cultivate cereals, vegetables and fruit for their personal use.
Chocolate taste through fermentation
The cocoa harvesting takes place from November to February. The ripe fruits are cut from the tree and cracked open. The white, sweet fruit pulp is removed from the shell and wrapped in banana leaves for 5 to 7 days. It's not before the fermentation process, which starts now, that the beans develop their cocoa taste. Afterwards, the beans are dried in the sun to stop the fermentation.
Women have a central role in the Togolese small-scale farming businesses. Not only do they keep the house and take care of the children, but they also carry out a big part of the agricultural works. Because many women however are not aware of their rights, gebana organises consultations where the women are informed about land ownership and usage rights for example.