An inspirational visit

On 6 June, a delegation of APROVAG representatives, a cooperative organisation of Senegalese banana farmers, visited Colruyt Group's head office. On this day filled with professional exchanges and observation, Collibri Foundation wants to take subsequent steps with them to develop a training programme in Senegal.

Issa, Michael, Jeanne and Frédéric are four APROVAG members who came to visit Colruyt Group's plants in Belgium and at the same time met a number of Collibri Foundation staff members. The representatives are the chairman, executive secretary, the person responsible for quality and the person responsible for agriculture respectively of the APROVAG organisation that we support and with whom Colruyt Group wishes to work together for the import of bananas to Belgium.

The delegation was presented with a busy programme, including a visit to the Dassenveld distribution centre in Halle and the Colruyt store next door. However, most of the time was scheduled for meetings.

Meetings for progress

After all, that was the goal: exchange. Exchange of advice, experiences, fears, and hope. Thus, we provided a day filled with meetings. Firstly, a meeting with Phillipe Stas, buyer for the banana product range for the entire Colruyt Group. For one day and without beating around the bush, he answered the many questions regarding the banana production and the future of the organic industry. And he managed to reassure them.

This was followed by a meeting with Jan Schockaert (Department Manager purchasing). He completed Colruyt Group's commitment by signing a contract.

Finally, the group met with Mieke Vercaeren (Collibri Foundation) and Hervé Lisoir (King Baudouin Foundation) to discuss the next steps. These involved, for example, selecting a local partner to head the training programme.

A fruitful partnership

At the end of the day, the APROVAG representatives left brimming with confidence. "These visits are vital for making the project more clear-cut, which allows us to ease the minds of the producers. We have to continue at our own speed in function of our capabilities and thus achieve the desired results," says Jeanne, who is responsible for quality.

Issa, APROVAG's chairman, is looking forward to a great future. "This partnership teaches us a lot. In the past, we never considered going the organic route and considered export even less. I was very impressed with the logistic resources. This reassured me that Colruyt will truly do what they told us. I've already sold my bananas even before I farmed them."

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Collibri Foundation

Address

Colruyt Group
Edingensesteenweg 196
1500 Halle

Phone

+32 (0)2 363 55 45
during office hours