Durabilis: Innovations to uplift Ethiopian economy

Durabilis, a Belgium based social impact company started as a foundation in 2003 and transited in 2010 into a private limited company to open up itself to external investors. During the same year Durabilis formulated a strategy to develop a number of innovative agro-business supply chains in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under the Durabilis holding structure there are three business units: FairFruit, Barajii, and Terral, with activities in production, processing and distribution business in fresh fruits and vegetables, processed liquids and commodities such as rice.

FairFruit strives to obtain a strong position in the European market with competitive pricing thanks to the development of a very efficient sea freight distribution model. It follows a client focused approach combined with strong focus on product quality, food safety, sustainable agriculture and social compliance. To ensure a year-round supply of fresh fruits and vegetables for FairFruit – in 2013 a new company, Kogaveg was set up in Ethiopia for the production, packaging and shipping of fresh vegetables (mainly peas and beans). The other objective of this venture is to engage in a crop rotation scheme and produce for local markets in Ethiopia.

The impact that ICCO Investments and Durabilis anticipate are linked to access to high value markets for smallholders in the area surrounding nucleus farms through their involvement in the production and creation of jobs to workers on the farm against fair conditions (certified Rain Forest Alliance), involvement of large amounts of smallholders for a longer term, receiving production support, and a fair price for the produce. Since the production process is going to follow an environment friendly approach, it would contribute significantly in achieving reduction of carbon footprints, thus ensuring a better local environment.

The activities at the outset in Kogaveg are expected to provide jobs to around 100 seasonal workers and approximately 20 employees. It is expected that over the years, the amount of out growers will increase and will eventually match the level of Durabilis activities in Guatemala where over 1100 smallholders are involved in the production process.

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