Healthy food, healthy businesses during COVID-19

5 mai 2021
ITC News

First fair trade mangoes of the season on their way from Côte d'Ivoire.

As the mango season in Côte d'Ivoire kicks off across plantations in Côte d’Ivoire, three companies are already successfully negotiating the sale of their entire 2021 harvest.

”We had barely started the harvest [and] we had already sold all our production to European importers” said one of the exporters. The first containers on their way to Europe are bringing this healthy and delicious fruit to European consumers and improving the economic health of Ivorian producers and their micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

COVID-19 disruptions to the global trade in tropical fruits and nuts included supply-chain disruptions and severe liquidity issues for producers. The perishability and limited shelf-life of agricultural goods coupled with logistic issues and financial speculation had brought additional challenges for tropical fruits exporters in Côte d’Ivoire.

These add to the existing competitiveness and market access issues MSMEs face.

Eric Bambara, who leads one of the exporting companies said, ‘’The UKTP project brings us closer to the unknown: The United Kingdom and Europe and how do we successfully access these high potential markets. The support provided in terms of quality improvement, and on brand image and marketing is critical to achieve and sustain our presence in these markets.”

One of the three companies exporting mangoes to Europe is led by women and the mangoes are Fair-Trade certified.

To help overcome some of these challenges, tropical fruit and cashew producers in Côte d'Ivoire are being supported by the United Kingdom Trade Partnerships Programme (UKTP), an initiative of the International Trade Centre funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

The UKTP is helping to make a positive contribution to sustainable development and growth through targeted sector-specific assistance for MSMEs, including trade and market intelligence, business development, quality improvement and certifications, market access and export.

As the project unfolds, more MSMEs in the tropical fruits and cashew sectors will continue to be supported close to their harvest season to find new buyers in the UK and Europe.

For the mango producers of Cote d’Ivoire, it’s a case of healthy food leads to healthy business.