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Georges Helfer SA to import first fair trade Ivory Coast mangoes

March 16 , 2016

In response to growing demand in Switzerland and the EU, fruit importer Georges Helfer SA is just weeks away from starting a new fair trade Kent mango deal it hopes to eventually make year-round. 

Commercial director Emilien Lori told the company had worked with northern Ivory Coast grower cooperative Scoops Wobin towards fair trade certification, with an audit undertaken on Feb. 29 that is now just awaiting confirmation.

“The benefit for the grower is that they have a better price because we have to sign the contract together with the minimum volume, and from the fixed price you have a premium that goes back to the cooperative that is used for social projects,” Lori said.

The cooperative comprises 20 growers growing on 127 hectares of land.

“They are exporting around four [metric] tons (MT) for hectare, and that means around 500MT for this season,” Lori said.

“We have the exclusivity. All will be via Georges Helfer Switzerland, and we plan to start the harvest between April 5-10, and we expect the first fruit to arrive on April 16 in Europe – the transit time is 12 days to Rotterdam.”

Lori said Peru was finishing up its season for Kent mangoes and the last arrival for that fruit in Europe would be between weeks 13-14, so there would be a gap in the market when the Ivory Coast fruit arrives.

However, he said Georges Helfer SA was working with grower partners in Brazil and Peru on fair trade certification as well, with the goal of supplying the market year-round.

“We have growers in Brazil but the season is from October to December, and after we are also making certifications in Peru.

“We are looking to find some supermarkets to deal with directly for the fair trade product, because Georges Helfer SA is really active in certification – we have papayas from Brazil, passion fruit from Vietnam, and others who are working on certification, for limes from Mexico and Brazil all year-round.”

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