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Business Location: Bobo, Burkina Faso
Type: Cooperative Society
Year of Founding: 2009
Number of Employees: 42 male producers and 1 female producer; The board of directors is comprised of 5 men and 1 woman. About 200 people in total are employed as seasonal workers for mango processing each year, 95% of whom are women
CEO: Etienne Christian Dioma
Mission: The main objective of UPROMABIO HBS is to specialise in mango production and other agricultural products to ensure the sustainable development of organic and/or fair trade production for the benefit of Burkinabè producers
The Union of Cooperative Societies with Board of Directors of Organic and Fair Trade Mango Producers in the Hautes Bassins Region (UPROMABIO HBS) is a union that was formed by a group of mango producers who wished to organise themselves to meet organic and fair trade requirements. The cooperative society mainly produces, processes and markets dried mango and dried organic and/or fair trade hibiscus flowers. The raw materials are sourced from 232 hectares of mango trees, which produce 1800 tonnes of fresh mango, and 35 hectares of hibiscus which produce 14 tonnes of dried hibiscus flowers. The cooperative is made of up three groups: MANGO SO, KOTOALLAMAN and YIRIKAN. The majority of UPROMABIO’s producers occupy family orchards and are an average age of 25 years, with an average surface area of 3 to 5 hectares that is cultivated without the use of hired labour.
Relationship with Smallholders
The Fairtrade premium, paid by the customer within the framework of Fairtrade, is managed by UPROMABIO through decisions concluded at their general meetings. This premium has enabled UPROMABIO to participate in the local community through several projects, including in the maintenance of a school orchard experimenting with a drip irrigation system; the construction of a school in Toussiana to bring the school closer to children by 5 km; troubleshooting boreholes to bring drinking water to local residents; purchasing school supplies and maintaining a mango tree nursery.
The premium has also allowed the cooperative to grow and enhance its own production, by funding the construction, maintenance and equipment of a drying unit. It has also strengthened UPROMABIO’s marketing strategies, allowing the cooperative to participate in the world’s leading trade fair for organic food in Germany, Biofach, in 2020.
Products Covered and Markets
The union’s processing capacity is estimated at 80 tonnes of dried mango and 22 tonnes of organic and fair trade dried flowers of hibiscus.
UPROMABIO has been selling organic and fair trade dried mango and dried hibiscus flowers on the European (Germany, France and Switzerland), United States and African markets since 2015. In 2019, it began to offer HACCP-certified dried mango, which allowed it to continue to export to the United States. It also has a fruit sales point in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
UPROMABIO is certified organic in the European Union (ECOCERT) and in the United States (United States’ Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Organic Program (NOP). The company is also Fairtrade International certified. It operates in a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certified processing facility for the production of dried mango.
Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans
As of 2015, the company was transformed to be able to export, largely thanks to the certifications obtained in organic, fairtrade and health and safety standards. Owing to this, the cooperative has been able to diversify its commercial partnerships. In terms of processing, the cooperative has its own drying units and also works with a network of local drying units. This enables it to increase processing capacities and create sufficient quantities of dried fruits to ensure export.
From 2020 to 2022, UPROMABIO partnered with the Joint Action for Farmers’ Organisations in West Africa (JAFOWA) in a project entitled “Environmental Resilience through an Agroecological Transition based on Technological Innovation and Equity (Pro-RETRAITE)”. The vision of UPROMABIO/HBS for this project was that by 2030, 10% of households in the four specific cities of Burkina Faso would consume fruits from agroecology and organic production in Burkina Faso.
In 2023, the cooperative expects the tonnes of export to increase, which will increase its turnover rates. The cooperative is facing challenges from climate change, including precarious rainfall patterns and extreme temperatures, which have a major impact on production. Due to these challenges, is difficult to manage or control the period of production, and sometimes they lack the fruit needed to create their products. The cooperative is looking for solutions to strengthen its resilience, among which include encouraging organic production.
UPROMABIO plans to move from semi-homemade, artisanal processes of drying, to more modern systems of drying that could reduce their losses, however they require more financial means to support this transition. It also wishes to diversify processing by processing mango into mango puree. However, this will require proper packaging to export the product. UPROMABIO aims to diversify its clientele by focusing on the national and sub-regional markets. As of now, they have a better understanding of the regional market rather than their own internal market.
Success Factors and Lessons Learned
organisation but also its contribution to the development of its members. It has commercial partnerships with structures in Burkina Faso, Europe and the United States. Additionally, it receives technical and financial support for capacity building. The COLEAD, among other structures, have assisted UPROMABIO with technical support, including training and project development.
The cooperative society conducts rigorous quality control checks of the products they transform, to ensure compliance with the necessary specifications. This also includes checking traceability, and customers are provided with up-to-date certifications. Invited by the Fédération Artisans du Monde, UPROMABIO took part in the Alimentre Festival in France in 2021, a food festival focused on sustainable, united food systems and the right to food.
Resources: Biodata of speakers at Session 12
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