“Fruandes = Frutos de los Andes” or “Fruits from the Andes” – that’s what the company of the same name “Fruandes” in the Colombian town of Ibagué about 200 km west of the capital Bogotá is all about. Fruandes is a socially responsible company with the goal of selling healthy and locally produced organic products on the international markets. By integrating smallholder farmers’ cooperatives into functioning value chains, the company aims to achieve the highest possible ecological and, above all, social impact. The Fruandes network covers five departments in Colombia and involves more than 650 smallholder families in the business model.
Fruandes obtains the raw materials – i.e. the fruit, and now also cocoa – from seven different smallholder cooperatives located in different regions of the Colombian Andes. According to strict organic quality standards, the small farmers grow mangoes, physalis, pineapples, bananas, dragon fruit/pitahaya, cane sugar, cocoa and peanuts, which are then gently processed in Fruandes’ production facility in Ibagué.
The Asociación Acayma is one of Fruandes’ producer cooperatives. In the Tolima region, southwest of Bogotá, Colombia, cotton was an important agricultural product until the collapse of the industry. However, the soils were quite suitable for the cultivation of other crops, such as peanuts. With a lot of courage, persuasion and investment on the part of Pakka, the Asociación Acayma was motivated to integrate the cultivation of organic peanuts into its product portfolio. Pakka financed the pilot phase and supported with market and product know-how. In close cooperation with Fruandes – for post-harvest processing – and with Equiori – for chocolate packaging and packaging of peanuts – a field-to-food product was created. Not only are 100% of the raw materials from Colombia, but the entire added value of the processing takes place in the country of origin.
With the help of Pakka, Fruandes was able to build a new processing plant in Ibagué in 2017 to create added value and thus jobs in the rural region. The aim is to be closer to the producer cooperatives and thus to the raw materials. Today, the company exports the organically certified dried fruits to various countries, such as Canada, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and the United States.