A second challenge is the low quality of the fruit. In order to compete with imported bananas from Côte d’Ivoire (harvested from commercial plantations for export to France and the UK), APROVAG has to produce bananas with export quality to get a better price. This means the need for improvement of agronomic practices and bunch care; and adequate handling and packing.
A third challenge (perhaps the biggest) is that APROVAG only controls the sales of the packed bananas, which is just a small percentage of the total turnover. The mayor part of the bananas is not washed and packed, but is sold as bulk bananas, in bunches, to middlemen who enter the plantations each week and who are well connected to wholesalers or retailers in the urban centers. In order to become a strong business, APROVAG has to compete with these middlemen. Up to date, APROVAG has not succeeded in taking over this sales network of bulk bananas, which still represents more than 90% of the sales, worth € 900.000 approximately.