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    Cotriex, Burundi: Exporting Agricultural Products from a Country in Crisis


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2001

    Cotriex started operations in January 1998, in the midst of an embargo against Burundi by neighbouring countries, with the objective of exporting agricultural and craft products to help diversify sources of foreign exchange earnings and increasing incomes in rural areas. It works with local peasant organizations in producing and processing coffee, passion fruit and similar products as well as in exporting ethnic products and craftwork. Cotriex concentrates on the logistic and quality control.

    In 1997, the idea of Cotriex came to Adrien Sibomana, a young entrepreneur who wanted to help Burundi export more, starting with traditional products and then moving on to other goods. Export volume grew from 90 to 596 tonnes between 1998 and 2000. Turnover between 1998 and 1999 went up fourfold. Until air flights improve, and while Bujumbura airport lacks cool storage facilities, Cotriex is trying to adapt by putting more emphasis on processing products in non-perishable form. It is now selling dried fruits and jams, dried vegetables and concentrated fruit juices as well as medicinal plants. It has also launched a project for its own label coffee. Cotriex ascribes its success to openness with partners, even giving buyers a rebate if it can purchase products at lower cost than originally foreseen.

    Contact: Mr. Adrien Sibomana, Cotriex, B.P. 2251, Burundi. Fax: +257 2 21 852

    Related links:

    -The Way Forward
    -Spices and Culinary Herbs
    -Dipag, Guinea: targeting the 'natural' market
    -Tiviski, Mauritania: creating a niche in camel milk and cheese
    -Cheetah Paprika, Zambia: foreign investment turns comparative advantage into competitive advantage
    -Meskel Flowers, Ethiopia: exporting cut flowers against competition
    -Nonu, Samoa: adding value through new products