Our delicious Organic Dried Mangoes are 100% free from added sugar and preservatives and are bought from Gebana Afrique, a Fair Trade company based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The mangoes are supplied by around 20 small farmer mango drying businesses which are organized as co-operatives and associations. The vast majority of the producers who grow, dry, and process the mangoes are women. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and in the world, and sales of this product provide badly needed income to the co-operatives’ members.
One of the co-operative businesses, that supply their mangoes to Gebana Afrique is Association TON, a co-operative of small-scale farmers, located in southern Burkina Faso. Association TON is located in Niangoloko, in southern Burkina Faso, close to the border of the Ivory Coast. The recent war and continuing unrest in the Ivory Coast has stopped traffic going through Niangoloko, stifling trade and making life hard for farmers and traders in the area. In this difficult context, TON’s mango business provides essential income for its 2,800 members. Many of their farmers grow mangoes and a large part of the co-operative’s income comes from harvesting, drying and selling these organic mangoes for export.
Each year, TON purchases thousands of tons of fresh fruits from its members and dries them at their drying station. Drying the mangoes is done primarily by the women, and provides them with valuable income during the five-month mango season from April through to August. This work enables the women to eat well, get their children educated, and to buy medicine when needed.
TON also runs literacy classes for adults and children, a theater group which does educational plays about issues such as child trafficking, and health and sex education. In addition to the higher price they receive for being part of Fair Trade, co-operative members also receive a social premium which they decide collectively how to use. To date, TON members have allocated their premiums to build a health center and new classrooms, and for the purchase of medicines, mosquito nets, and a photocopier for the office.
Because of drying, selling mangoes works for us. Before it was only the ladies who bought for market and they didn’t buy much or pay well. The mangoes just rotted because there was no market. A few big traders would sometimes come by, but again they did not buy much and they didn’t pay much either. Drying triples the interest in mango for us because the farmers gain and the women gain. And then there is the social premium, too, which benefits the whole community.”