A project representing ProNatura’s values
Mango production in Burkina Faso is co-managed, since 2002, in partnership with Burkinature, company managed by Claude Bovey, former member of CEAS (Albert Schweitzer Ecological Centre) NGO. It gathers multiple groups of farmers in order to carry out a production that respects the environment in a country where exportation crops (like cotton) are massively developed, which unbalances the ecosystem.
In order to carry out this programme, which represents today more than 67% of the mango ProNatura distributes, 300 producers grow 1200Ha of orchards. Ecocert certified, the productions have also the Max Havelaar label and the GlobalGap standard.
Burkinature assists the farmers in obtaining and financing these certificates, while ProNatura manages the commercialisation of the mangoes, as well as provides technical assistance in order to reach the quality required by European clients.
While this African region has enormous advantages for this production, it generally lacks the financial and logistical resources required for an export product.
This challenge is the one ProNatura decided to face by creating its production, which offers multiple interests:
– Promoting the organic mode, in which, unlike in conventional, fungicides cannot be used during the post-harvest wax baths.
– Establishing an organic model based on smaller and more spaced fields in order to maintain natural biodiversity between them.
– Using organic and locally produced fertilisers (own compost and natural fertilisation).
A fair project, tangible achievements
Socially speaking, the development premium, part for the producer in the fair trade context, has been used to:
– provide schools with material and furniture
– allow access to class for the children
– dig big wells for local crops irrigation
– create a pharmacy in the village
– equip the routes with “small markets” to allow women to sell the non-exportable production
– build a warehouse for the farmers…
An adapted production zone
Burkinature chose to grow mangoes in the South West of the country, between Bobo Dioulasso and the border with Mali. Its climate is perfect for mangoes with enough rain and a dry season that offers natural protection at the phytosanitary level, as it limits the development of fungus and other parasites.
Burkinature employees take a census of the orchards and make their choice based on the trees’ quality and their maintenance, as well as the land accessibility. Once the zone is defined, Burkinature sets up formation programmes, technical monitoring of the production and starts the certification proceedings.
During the harvest period, the company plans all the harvests, which conditioning is guaranteed in a modern fruit terminal, compliant with the European hygiene and safety rules.
Mangoes reach the port of Abidjan, from where they leave African soil by boat, by train in containers at 9ºC.
A wide range of varieties
ProNatura offers essentially three varieties of mango from Burkina Faso: Amelie, Kent and Keith. Amelie, completely green, are known for their taste quality. It is the one that starts the season in March until April, followed by the Kent and afterwards Keith, varieties known as “colourful” on 1 to 2/3 of the fruit. Others complete the assortment: Ruby or Lippens. They are distributed to our organic specialised stores and big distributors.