SCEB: a unique organic cooperative in the Bandama region

The story of SCEB, the acronym for Société Coopérative Equitable du Bandama or the Fairtrade Cooperative Company of the Bandama Region, began in 2006 when ten cocoa producers refused to be underpaid and gradually left their commercial organization.

With the help of two NGOs, they joined forces with Ethiquable, which supports their work of producing certified Fairtrade and organic cocoa, a first in Côte d’Ivoire! The cooperative was officially founded in 2010 with 38 producers.

At first, producing organic cocoa was not easy in a country dominated by intensive farming. However, farmers’ mindsets have changed through a process of continuous training organized over a three-year transition period. Farmers have been able to find alternatives to chemical inputs and insecticides by applying natural compost and using mixtures made with local plants. Precise and systematic pruning of cocoa trees has also improved their yields. This initiative was unprecedented in Côte d’Ivoire.

Today, SCEB is made up of more than 250 smallholder cocoa producers. This cooperative is a rarity in Côte d’Ivoire where it remains one of the few producer organizations to focus exclusively on organic production. Although nearly all cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire is conventional, all SCEB producers and members have organic certification or are in the process of converting to organic farming. They also have SPP (the acronym for Symbole des Petits Producteurs or Symbol of Smallholder Producers) certification; this Fairtrade certification requires farmers to meet strict standards and was created and developed by the southern producer organizations. This certification guarantees that farmers receive fair pay for their work.

Thanks to Alterfin’s financial backing and Ethiquable’s support, this modest Ivorian cooperative can thrive by exporting its high-quality cocoa beans directly to the organic and Fairtrade market. In particular, SCEB has been able to increase its annual sales from 75 to 300 metric tons of cocoa over the last three years.

Find out more about Ethiquable

Ethiquable is a French cooperative which specializes in importing certified Fairtrade and organic products. It develops, manufactures, and distributes 151 Fairtrade and organic products across Europe, collaborating exclusively with 62 cooperatives of smallholder producers in developing countries.
Ethiquable has been an Alterfin partner for several years. Recently, Alterfin provided the cooperative with a long-term loan of EUR 220,000 to enable it to pre-finance the producer organizations it works with. Fostering a long-term relationship with organizations such as Ethiquable offers Alterfin the opportunity to significantly increase its reach by indirectly supporting multiple producer organizations, which are characterized by their relatively small-scale operations, something which would make it difficult for them to receive direct funding from Alterfin.

SCEBduring the Covid-19 pandemic

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