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    Frager, Haiti: shortening the perfume chain to become world number one


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

    Frager, a factory dedicated to making vetiver essence, the ingredient of fine perfumes and industrial fragrances, has raised its production in ten years from 20 to 60 tonnes annually, making it the largest producer in the world. With a kilogram of vetiver selling for US$ 69, Frager has a healthy turnover of US$ 4 million. It also employs 27,000 families as contract cultivators of vetiver.

    When Pierre Léger, the present head of the company, took over in 1984, Frager was exporting vetiver essence to North America. He learned that these exports were re-exported from the United States to end-users (perfume companies) in Europe. So he decided to cut out the middleman and sell directly to European companies.

    After completing studies in agronomy in the Netherlands, Mr. Léger approached one of the most important perfume companies, based in Switzerland. The company gave him a contract, which paid for the replacement of a charcoal-fired boiler, dating from 1880, with an oil-fired boiler and for the installation of other sophisticated technology. A satellite phone was purchased for the express purpose of maintaining close contact with European clients.

    The combination of direct distribution, new technology and low operating costs helped Frager attain an advantage over competitors in Brazil, China, Indonesia and Reunion (which has now withdrawn from the market).

    Pierre Léger believes strongly in direct contacts with his local community, too, to maintain the success of his business. Employees are given a chance to participate in the running of the enterprise. Mr. Léger takes part in harvesting and in the celebratory community get-togethers to sing traditional songs. He is also initiating his son into the business.

    Contact details: Pierre Léger, Frager, 172,

    rue du Centre, Port-au-Prince, Haiti HP-6110. E-mail: agrisupply@acn2.net