In 2020, gebana saw enormous growth and made the largest profit in the company’s history. At the same time, we have taken a large step towards greater sustainability and fairness, for example with wages in Togo.
A lot changed at gebana throughout 2020. We restructured our organisation in Europe, improved our processes and adapted to new circumstances in the North and the South. To get the background to all this and find out more, you can read our annual report (in German only).
In addition to our business figures, we assess around 50 different indicators every year, which we use to measure how sustainably and fairly we work and identify areas for improvement.
The following paragraphs and graphics are taken from the sustainability report. These numbers also appear in our annual report.
In 2020, we extended the gebana model – our sharing approach – to Togo and Greece. As a result, the premiums that we paid to family farmers rose by 132% compared to the previous year.
At 78%, the total share of our sales that remained in the South was slightly lower than in 2019. The reasons for this decline were our Corona aid campaign in Switzerland, Farmers Looking for Customers, as well as an improvement in wholesale margins.
In West Africa, we are working directly with more and more family farmers. After a dip in 2019, the number of family farmers rose again last year. In Brazil, Burkina Faso and Togo, a total of 1,487 families were added.
In 2020, we invested more in working with family farmers and developing better farming practices than ever before. We have been focusing on agroforestry in West Africa since the beginning of 2021. As for what this term entails, we will offer a separate explanation on the gebana blog during the second half of the year.
We are working closely with universities in Brazil to promote organic agriculture. In Greece, we opened the Organic Agricultural Center together with Anyfion in 2020, where farmers can get advice and buy organic pesticides and fertilizers on favourable terms.
In 2020, we invested 627,000 euros in Brazil, Burkina Faso and Togo. Of this amount, around 438,000 euros went to buildings, machines and vehicles.
We calculate investments as the share of total assets invested in the producing countries. We calculate absorbed losses as write-offs and debt relief for the companies in the South.
To match our strong sales growth in 2020, the number of people who work at gebana also rose sharply. A total of 101 new jobs were created, 91 of them in the Global South. At the end of last year, 693 people were working at gebana worldwide.
We calculate the number of jobs as an annual average, as there are several seasonal jobs during and immediately after the harvest.
Worldwide, there are significantly more women working for gebana than men, and they are still underrepresented in management in the Global South.
It took a change in management to bring the lowest wages in Togo well above the national minimum wage. In the coming weeks, we’ll explain how difficult it is to find the right people for management positions in the Global South and what role wages play.
In 2020, the share of organic products in our range slightly decreased because we sold a number of products without the organic certification during and after the first lockdown to support Swiss family farmers. The share of organic products is expected to increase again in 2021.
The share of products that go straight to our customers’ homes from the family farmers was 50.2%, almost 7% more than the previous year. Here too, our Corona aid campaign was a major driver. After all, all the products of the Swiss family farmers went straight from the farms to our customers. Record orders for oranges and other fresh products also contributed to this growth.
More good news: the share of products that are never repackaged rose from 65 to 67.8%. We hope to continue to improve on this in 2021.
gebana employees receive a third of all profits. Half of this goes to the people in the Global South and the other half to those in the North. The unbelievable profits of 2020 amount to two to three additional monthly wages in the South, and around an additional one in the North. We distribute the profit proportionally to the gross annual wage received in the North, whereas it is distributed per capita in the South.
Please keep me informed about gebana and its products.
Halten Sie mich über dieses Projekt auf dem Laufenden.×
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.
Enable someone to make their first export with your order. Please note: Unexpected events often lead to delays, and you may find that the quality is not yet perfect. For this reason, your feedback is absolutely essential. The export experience and your feedback are important steps for the producers towards accessing the market. As a customer, you are witness to the whole process, playing your part in pioneering work.
You can order from these producers simply and directly. You receive your product as soon as the minimum order quantity has been reached and the products are ready. The risk for you is minimal, since the producers already have a product that is ready for market. This sales channel is beneficial to both the producers and the consumers, since it cuts out the middle man.
Be part of the development of supply chains and support innovation! Some of the ways you can do this include testing new products, giving feedback, or financially supporting the producers in their next steps. In doing so, you will be able to see for yourself how the products and supply chains develop.
This is where you can see all the completed projects on the Access to Market Platform at a glance. You can find out where products are now available from or whether the producers are still seeking a trade partner.