- Sector: Agriculture
- Country of operations: Mali
Cream of the crop
Comptoir 2000 prides itself on improving the living standards of Malians on low income. It does so by producing crop seeds and then selling them in small quantities at affordable prices to farmers throughout Mali. “We’ve developed our own plantations and worked with a network of out-growers to ensure a steady and affordable supply of improved seeds to achieve better farm yields,” says CEO Issa Mory Dembele. This has been achieved with the support of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and private equity firm Injaro Investments.
Comptoir 2000 has come a long way since starting out in 1990 as a distributor of herbicides and pesticides. Since expanding into the production and distribution of crop seeds at the turn of the century, the company’s strategy has involved tackling some of the biggest challenges facing Mali’s agriculture sector.
“The main difficulty in the early 2000s was the very low utilisation rate of certified seeds by farmers,” explains Issa. “To address this problem, we chose to make certified seed accessible to small farmers in small quantities, open outlets in strategic zones around Mali, use local-language radio advertising and create a network of 50 distributors.”
Comptoir 2000 CEO Issa Mory Dembele expects West Africa’s seed market to grow quickly
The company has now set its sights even higher. “Comptoir 2000 has ambitions to be the largest seed company in Mali and one of the leading ones in West Africa,” says Issa, recognising the latter goal will involve expanding into other countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “Given the regionalisation of the market, which allows free movement of seeds in the ECOWAS sub-region, the seed market will grow quickly,” he forecasts. “Other opportunities include the initiative, supported by ECOWAS, to boost rice consumption in the sub-region and the increase of poultry and cattle raising, which implies a high consumption of grains such as maize, soybean and wheat.”
To help it capitalise on these opportunities, Comptoir 2000 plans to increase its workforce by 70% over the next five years.
- 50 - The number of distributors that are part of the network created by Comptoir 2000 to help improve seed supply