Promote transparency & visibility for global trade
gebana was founded by a strong group of Swiss women in 1973 as a movement that championed for the ethical treatment of workers on Latin America’s banana plantations. These “Banana Women” as they came to be known in the 1980s, actively promoted fairer banana trade under the banner “Arbeitsgemeinschaft GErechter BANAnenhandel” or “gebana” for short, which translates to “Working Group for a Fair Banana Trade”.
gebana today collaborates with thousands of farming families from diverse regions to ensure fair trade and to deliver certified organic produce to consumers in Europe. Fresh fruits are made available in online shops on a crowd ordering model, whereby customers order in advance for immediate post-harvest delivery. gebana’s commitment towards developing sustainable value-added chains enable the organisation to provide much more than a fair price for the farmers it partners with while also ensuring quality produce for end consumers. The organisation provides agri know-how to local producers and also helps organise logistics. Having been involved in fair trade for over 40 years, gebana endeavors to strengthen local economies and bring about a transformation in the global trade to favour farming families and local economies by encouraging consumers to buy from their local producers.
gebana is an organisation that has recently started adopting technology for its various processes. Without a centralised system in place for effective data monitoring and management for its global operations, the various teams carried out data collection and reporting using basic tools such as pen, paper and spreadsheets. This excessive dependence on human labour resulted in more data loss and inconsistencies in reports, and further affected some of gebana’s other key services including:
gebana’s certification program for farmers and producers for both organic produce and fair trade
Pre-financing growers for seeds, agrochemicals and other agri-input
Packaging and warehouse management before distribution of harvested produce
gebana was looking to invest in a simple, cost-effective tech-enabled solution that would help achieve the following objectives:
Operating from 7 countries, gebana invests in crops that include pineapple, cocoa, soy, cashews, dried mango, beans, wheat, maize, sugar, dried banana, coffee, and other fresh fruits and nuts.
The successful completion of the pilot project convinced gebana of CropIn’s capabilities for their unique requirements, and it resulted in CropIn digitising 11,700+ hectares of farmland and nearly 5,000 farmers in Togo
Further, gebana expanded the partnership to digitise operations in Burkina Faso too, to onboard about 3,000 farmers and manage 21,000 hectares of farmland
CropIn is enabling the organisation to remotely monitor and manage soy and cocoa farms in Togo and cashews and mango plantations in Burkina Faso, in addition to achieving 100% digitisation of data for increased visibility of operational activities and better operational efficiency.
Before: Tracking the performance of farm plots and farmers in each region was a considerable challenge as the record for each of the activities was created and maintained manually using basic data collection tools such as notebooks and spreadsheets, and these records could not be relied on entirely. It was also a laborious task to validate the data as some of the records were incomplete or lacking key details.
After: The use of CropIn’s platform cut down on hours of manual work and established a structured approach to managing data in a way that the management team had access to the details of various projects across all regions of operations in real-time. In addition, the end-to-end digitisation also strengthen the existing certification program by allowing the organisation to capture accurate details of farming practices throughout the cultivation cycle.
Before: One of gebana’s primary challenges was its shortcoming to map and monitor farm activities in real-time in a hierarchical organisational structure. There was poor visibility over farm operations and the performance of field team, including farmers
After: Capturing ground-level intelligence, along with visuals, has helped the organisation achieve 100% visibility at all levels from pre-sowing until harvest. Farmers, plots, package of practices, harvest details, and other activities and events can all be now managed on a centralised platform, which helps gebana in quick and effective decision making to drive sustainable strategies.
Before: Prior to the implementation of CropIn’s solutions, the management team did not have the appropriate system to identify if the farmers were following the best farming practices for sustainable and high-quality produce. This lack of accurate ground-level information was also a drawback when seeking organic or fair trade certifications
After: CropIn’s platform allows the field staff to capture ground-level activities in its digital platform, which can then be extracted in the form of a concise report when needed. Features such as geo-tagging, registration of farm, farmer and crop details, and monitoring each of the recommended practices for sustainability and quality compliance makes it much easier for the organisation to authenticate the information required for certifications.