- All participating companies have been negatively impacted by the current crisis, whether they are active on local or European markets.
- The main impacts are on logistics (high cost of freight) and on labour (reduction in the maximum labour capacity of workplaces due to social distancing).
- Participating companies saw an average decrease in turnover between 10 and 50%.
- 59% of businesses had to take some action regarding permanent staff, but only 12% had to lay off permanent staff. 88% of businesses had to take measures concerning seasonal workers, with a large drop in recruitment.
- A majority of companies have not applied for government aid due to a lack of information, documents and financial resources. Of the businesses that did apply, half received aid.
- The majority of WHO recommendations are known and understood by companies and their workers. However, some COVID-19 measures are not applied in daily activities, and support is needed for harvesting personnel and producers in complying with these measures.
The survey was carried out by COLEACP and Intermangue (the mango interprofessional organisation in Côte d’Ivoire). The majority of the 17 companies that responded are active simultaneously in several production chains, with mango being the most mentioned (13 enterprises), followed by pineapple, then coconut. Most respondents sell their products on the European market (77%, mainly the Netherlands and France); the remaining 23% are active on local markets.
Three months after the start of the crisis, the majority of respondents (70%) reported that turnover was suffering losses of 10–50%. 18% of companies had losses between 50 and 80%, and one company mentioned lost revenue of more than 80%. The main impacts are in terms of volume sold, with 71% of companies seeing a reduction in the volume requested by customers; and in terms of productivity, with decreased maximum capacity in the workplace (following social distancing) for 54% of companies, and reduced working hours (following curfew) for 42%.
59% of respondents decreased the products purchased from producers; 41% reported difficulty in sourcing certain inputs from suppliers (packaging, pallets, etc.). 47% of participating companies experienced a reduction in the logistics offer, limiting the volumes traded.
The impact of the crisis on volumes marketed has been significant. For 80% of responding companies, the decrease in the volume requested by customers was the most important consequence (between 25% and 75% decrease in volume). On the other hand, 20% experienced an increase in the volume demanded by customers. Concerning prices on the market compared to the same period in 2019, the response of the companies was divided: 38% saw prices similar to 2019, and 37% said prices were lower than in 2019. More than half of the participating companies are still trying to identify potential markets for their products, and none of the companies have access to an online platform to sell their products.
Regarding permanent staff, 59% of companies had to take measures during the first half of 2020. The most mentioned was stopping recruiting new employees, followed by a reduction in salaries. Two companies confirmed that they had been forced to lay off permanent staff: in one case two staff, and in the other three staff. 88% of companies had to implement measures concerning seasonal staff during the first half of 2020. For a majority, 25% fewer seasonal workers were recruited compared to the 2019 season.
The majority of companies (88%) work with external growers, and have seen a significant impact on supplies. The main difficulties were in terms of volume of supply, with decreased order, and difficulties for producers in supplying the volumes initially planned.
The WHO recommendations most transmitted to subcontractors, and most understood by employees, are to avoid close contact and to wash hands frequently. In the station, measures are applied by an average of 71%, compared to 63% at harvest time, and less than 69% transmitted measures to subcontractors. Difficulties preventing the implementation of COVID-19 measures included obtaining supplies of face masks; the cost of implementing certain measures for third parties; and the difficulty of distancing harvesters by 1 metre when transporting them.
On awareness of government assistance, respondents were fairly evenly split: 53% were aware of government aid to support the sector, while 47% said they were not aware of such aid. Companies mentioned the Support Fund for SMEs (Fonds de Soutien aux PME, FSPME), the Financial Support Programme for Cooperatives and Producers, and the Ivorian State Economic Support Fund within the framework of COVID-19. However, a majority of companies that were aware of this aid had not applied for it. Reasons included difficulties in acquiring the documents requested, lack of financial resources, lack of information support, and that the proposed aid is intended for cooperatives and producers, not exporters. Of the 22% of companies that had applied for assistance, 50% said it had been granted.
A large proportion of respondents requested financial assistance. In addition, some were hoping for a continuation of training activities, particularly on COVID-19. Facilitating market access remains an important demand from companies. Additional suggestions included a support system to assist with obtaining government funding; supporting interprofessional discussions between producers and exporters, especially on prices for the coming mango campaign; and initiating an interprofessional platform to monitor the evolution of markets (European and others).