gebana has been active in Burkina Faso for 12 years in the processing and export of organic mango and organic cashew nuts. However, the company has suffered serious losses this year owing to a number of different factors — details of which are outlined below. Because we believe in the future of the company, we want to rebuild gebana Afrique and resurrect it in the form of gebana Burkina Faso. However, we cannot do this alone. Various individuals and institutions have already promised us their support, with the proviso that we manage to find additional startup capital.
What can I do?
We made it: a new start for gebana Burkina Faso!
Together with our previous and new investors, a handful of trade customers and 2,841 people who signed up to our pre-sales initiative, we reached our goal: gebana Burkina Faso will be rehabilitated and start afresh! Now the real adventure starts: can we succeed in establishing gebana in Burkina Faso as a sustainable business with long-term prospects? Sign up here to be kept up to date.
Why is gebana needed in Burkina Faso?
The processing of sustainable products that are grown on small farms, such as cashew nuts or mangos, increases local value creation. There are currently 457 people working for gebana Afrique, and 3,250 farming families benefit from sales that have long-term security, from organic and fair trade prices for their products, and from training in organic agriculture. This is particularly important in Burkina Faso. In the Human Development Index published by the United Nations, which takes into account life expectancy, education and income, Burkina Faso is ranked 185 out of 188 countries.
It is mostly women who work at gebana Afrique. In peak season, the company employs 457 people.
A large proportion of the employees are involved in the processing of quality organic cashew nuts. These can now be obtained through our advance sales system.
The second product which gebana deals with in Burkina Faso is juicy dried mango. This can also be ordered through advance sales to help get the company in Burkina Faso back on its feet.
Preparing raw cashews to get ready for eating involves a great deal of manual work.
The shelled nuts have to be sorted according to size. Our expert sorters distinguish up to 26 size categories
There are mangos aplenty in the country — unless the harvest is poor due to bad weather conditions, as has been the case in 2017.
In order to improve the transportation and storage conditions of the fresh fruit, gebana and its customers have been sending fruit boxes to Burkina Faso for many years, which are swapped for dried mango from the processing facilities.
The mangos are cut open and laid on grids to be dehydrated for several hours in ovens.
The drying process is carried out by local partner businesses, while gebana controls, sorts, packs and exports the finished products.
This is our cashew factory in Burkina Faso.
Why did gebana Afrique fail?
gebana Afrique was founded in 2006. From the outset, the company’s history has been characterized by a series of ups and downs in what is an extremely difficult environment. However, last year we thought that we had turned a corner in securing the future of the company, having achieved a positive year-end result. But this proved not to be the case: A loss of EUR 900,000 is anticipated for 2017. This turn of events has three main causes:
- The purchase price for raw cashews has gone through the roof in the past three years, owing to developments in international market conditions. As we were not in a position to pass these price rises on to our customers, we cut down on production. As a result, our volumes and margins fell.
- The mango harvest in 2017 was very poor. We were only able to buy and process around half the quantity of mangos that we bought in 2016.
- At the same time, we invested in a professional management team — a step that was long overdue, given the size of the company. But since specialist staff do not come cheap, even in Burkina Faso, the fixed costs of gebana Afrique saw a significant increase.
Is there really a future for gebana in Burkina Faso?
We firmly believe that the new start can be a success. This year, a professional management structure has been established, and the company’s business processes have been improved. If the production facilities for cashew nuts and dried mango can operate to their maximum capacity in future, then the company will be in the black. Moreover, market demand is seeing positive developments: Major customers are now not only interested in certification, but they also want to know where their products are coming from, and more and more are willing to share the production risks.
How will the company be rehabilitated?
The rehabilitation of gebana Afrique, which is due to take place in April 2018, will only succeed with the cooperation of all stakeholders. The majority of former investors — individuals as well as corporate — have already said that they are prepared to participate in the rehabilitation plan. Gebana AG will write off its share in gebana Afrique.
In addition, we have found a partner in Pakka, a Zurich-based company specialising in sustainable value chains for nuts who will invest in the rehabilitation programme in Burkina Faso, both financially and in terms of expertise. Discussions are also under way with various sustainable investment funds.
The new investors have stipulated the condition that we find the necessary startup capital. We intend to do this through advance sales of products from Burkina Faso. This is where you come in!
How can I help?
You can support the restart in Burkina Faso by buying between 1 kg and 1,000 kg of organic cashew nuts or dried mango now, and receiving it in five years’ time.
This will give the company time to develop for the long term. The various purchasing options can be found here.
Are you still on the lookout for meaningful Christmas presents? Why not give products of the future? At your request, we will make out the certificate in the name of the recipient and send it directly to him or her, as well as the products themselves in five years’ time. Or, if you wish, we will send certificates to you without names, for you to give personally.
Do you want to do more, but can’t eat 1,000 kg of cashew nuts? From upwards of 50 kg, on your request, we will sell the products on in five years’ time, instead of shipping them to you. The original purchase price you paid will then be refunded to you.
You will be sharing the risk and the profit
By participating in the restart of the company in Burkina Faso, you will be carrying a share of the risk along with us and all other investors: If the restart does not succeed, then there will be no products in five years’ time. If it does succeed, however, you will not only receive the nuts or dried fruit that you ordered, but also a share in any profit.
This will amount to 0.0009% of the profit up to the year 2022 per kilogram of cashews and 0.0006% per kilogram of mango. All being well, this will be CHF 7 and CHF 4.67 per kilogram respectively — a return of between 15% (for 1 kg of mango) and 35% (1,000 kg cashews).
If we are unable to raise the startup capital by 31 March 2018 and cannot rehabilitate gebana Afrique, your money will be returned to you.
Bobo Dioulasso - Burkina Faso