A ‘Super Pepper’ Dream Becomes a Reality “In March and April you can buy a huge stack of mangoes for 100 francs, but by the end of May, only two mangoes will cost the same 100 francs,” says Affou Bindé Agossou. Growing up in the Central Region of Togo, Bindé’s decision to become an agronomist was made early in life, convinced he could help manage Togo’s natural resources and increase income for his country’s farmers. “When there is a lot, there is so much—when there is none, it is gone,” he continued. Bindé concluded that to resolve this dilemma, Togo needed to develop its ability to add value by processing its commodities.
would be crucial to his success. “I said to myself, the simplest is hot pepper because it conserves easily and everyone [in Togo] eats hot pepper, morning, noon and night and all year round!” He obtained a micro-finance loan from Coopec de Sokodé, and this time when Bindé returned to the pepper farmers, he had cash to offer for their crops. “Now I have a network of producers who produce for me the raw materials that I need because to get the quality I want, support must be given to the producers in the fields,” says Bindé.
transforms seasonal hot pepper supplies into year-round availability.
Shortly after his graduation from L’Ecole Superior d’Agronomie de L’Université de Lomé, Bindé established his own agricultural development organization, AgroIndustrie. Nonetheless, his first attempt at agro-processing failed when farmers hesitated to supply him with their produce without immediate payment. Subsequent to this humbling experience, Bindé accepted an offer to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in Dakar, Senegal. After working as a technical advisor with the Societé Togolaise du Coton (STC), he had to choose between acceptance of a doctorate degree fellowship and the pursuit of his life-long dream of becoming an agro-entrepreneur. “I knew I was capable of pursuing the doctorate, but to be an entrepreneur was what I desired most,” says Bindé. With little savings, his first step was to establish a private company, AgroComplex, in 2006. But Bindé realized that choosing the right commodity
Late in 2006, Bindé approached 1000s+ requesting assistance for his fledging business. 1000s+ began by providing support to the pepper producers in improved production methods, fertilizer application and other technical matters. “When 1000s+ helped me get my product chemically analyzed, Super Pepper gained credibility as a quality product in the market,” says Bindé. 1000s+ also provided him with vital support in advertising Super Pepper, helping to transform the product into a household name and resulting in an increase in sales. 1000s+ recently supported Bindé’s efforts to improve his packaging. “When people see my pepper container, they often assume that it is imported,” says Bindé. Today, Bindé’s new dream is to introduce Super Pepper to the European market, providing more markets, not only for his company, but also for the producers dependent on income from this commodity.