Trade for Development Centre is a programme of Enabel, the Belgian development agency.

TDC supports the network of pineapple producers in Benin in business management

With 1,600 members, RéPAB (Réseau des producteurs d’pineapple du Bénin) represents around 20% of the country’s pineapple producers. Since 2003, the cooperative has come a long way, and today it has both organic and fair trade certification. In 2016, a turning point was reached with the signing of a contract with a Benin company that exports fruit juice. In order to fulfil this contract, RePAB had to step up its efforts, including the management of the organisation.

At the end of 2017, the first TDC coaching module in business operations took place. During the first days, the emphasis was placed on the functioning of the cooperative itself. Following an incident that had just occurred, namely the refusal of a shipment of pineapples due to, among other things, excessive acidity, a fascinating debate arose about the tasks and responsibilities of the employees and the organisation chart. The managers then looked at the figures, particularly with a view to analysing gross and net margins, sales revenue, subsidies and fixed and variable costs. The investigation covered both 2016 and 2017 and led to the conclusion that the margin charged by the cooperative to the exporter of fruit juice is not sufficient to pay for all the work and achieve a “fair” price.

“That’s why we changed course and focused on the whole pineapple sector,” explains Vincent De Grelle (Valmosan), the coach of this CCT trip. “Because of the €6.5 the European consumer pays for a litre of organic pineapple juice, the Beninese producer has only €0.25 in his wallet. The cooperative therefore realised that it would not be an unreasonable requirement to adjust the margins charged to the company exporting the juice or to other players targeting the European market. ”This coaching really came at the right time! ” concludes Damien Z. Kiki, the Managing Director of RéPAB. “We realise now, at this crucial moment for our organisation, what it means to be profitable and competitive. »

Copyright : Vincent De Grelle


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