Monday, 8 November 2010

How useful is research to an SME dealing with waterpackaging & hibiscus in Burkina Faso?

At the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting held end of September 2010 in New York City, Durabilis announced its US$ 10 million commitment to support the development of sustainable and integrated agro-business supply chains in West Africa.

Over the next 5 years, Durabilis will develop a number of innovative agro-business supply chains in West Africa that will utilize high technology innovations for low cost Bottom-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) applications to be marketed in local and regional markets. These agro supply chains will link local small holder farmers with state-of-the-art processing and transformation facilities and a distribution network that guarantees linkage with market demand. Liquid products such as energized water, hibiscus, fruit juice, dairy products, cereal, fortified rice, mangos and sweet potatoes will all be part of the product range.

The commitment will be piloted in Burkina Faso in 2010/2011 and will be replicated in other West African countries such as Senegal, Nigeria, Mali and Ghana in the course of the coming years.

Following a meeting on 26th of October in Brussels "Consultation du Secteur privé européen dans le cadre du Programme PAEPARD" Carl Wulfrank of Fair-Fruit ~ Durabilis was interviewed.

The Durabilis Foundation is active at present in the field of water purification and distribution in Senegal, Kenya, and Burkina Faso. In addition to the water project, the Foundation also supports the Guatemalan fruit and fair trade. In Burkina Faso the water is sold under the brand "Bara Jii" (literally a droplet of water).

The light and strong 50-cl polyethylene bags are a practical and efficient way of drinking pure water at any time and in any place: at home, at school, in the street, at work, in the field, whilst travelling etc. The concept of ‘water in bags’ is also environmentally friendly because there is less waste than if bottles are used. Moreover, the bags are made using material which can be recycled or which are bio-degradable.

Presently a new product is in the pipeline: selling bisap (beverage made from hibiscus) in bags.

Carl Wulfrank answers following questions:
a) What is the latest project about hibiscus?
b) How can a small and medium enterprise like Durabilis benefit from research?

Innovative partnerships with researchers are beneficial for all stakeholders of which the small holders. But it is very difficult
  1. to get research on data management by small holders, 
  2. to have research on how to manage relations with small holder groups,
  3. many small growing business heavily depend on suppliers but the management of their supply is not optimal.
In Guatemala Durabilis has developed a methodology which it implements with some 1500 small holders on how to reach in a more optimal way formal markets. Research still needs to be done on the African application of this approach.

Background: About Durabilis Foundation
The Durabilis Foundation focuses on supporting sustainable entrepreneurship in agro-business supply chains in emerging markets. As such, it invests in small and medium sized agro-businesses in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa active in the fresh fruit and vegetable markets and local base-of-the-pyramid products.

Durabilis has a dedicated team performing extensive research and business development in order to provide the necessary market research, operational innovation and market linkages for the businesses it supports.

Durabilis is convinced of the need for larger scale agro-businesses in West Africa, as the numerous smaller scale projects can not satisfy the market needs or the high interest from numerous international donors looking to address this issue. As a funder and capacity building organisation, Durabilis is committed to coordinate all elements of the supply chains in order to build up larger scale integrated organisations that service the local and regional markets and thereby also address the pressing food safety issue still present in most countries in West Africa.

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