Do you remember BioPhyto, the Beninese company that produces organic inputs? Here is a look back at the journey of this company which, in 2 years, has successfully raised funds, obtained organic certification, expanded to the rest of Africa and is creating more and more impact locally.
The founder gave himself up to DJOUMAN in a 5 questions interview.
I am Gildas ZODOME, Director of Bio Phyto and PhD student in Environment, Health and Development at the University of Abomey Calavi (Benin). I have a background in agronomy.
I worked at the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin and at the Rice Center for Africa. I also worked for 5 years as an agricultural advisor in rural areas at the Ministry of Agriculture. In 2012, I left this position to create Bio Phyto.
Bio Phyto produces and markets organic agricultural inputs based on local plants. It organizes the production and collection of raw materials throughout the country, thanks to women and youth groups. The company raises awareness of the benefits of organic inputs and encourages farmers to use 100% natural agricultural inputs. It also works on issues of valorization of local resources.
Bio Phyto is organized in the form of a network: 9 permanent agents and 20 casuals.
Farmers are forced to use chemical inputs. Indeed, they do not have access to organic inputs, which are almost non-existent on the market. They are not trained or equipped to produce them themselves either. As a reminder, chemical inputs are responsible for the impoverishment of cultivable soils, the destruction of biodiversity, especially useful crop auxiliaries (bees, other insects), not to mention food poisoning.
We have brought to market organic inputs that do not threaten the health of farmers and consumers or the environment.
Agro Bio is an organic fertilizer that is both a fertilizer and a growth stimulator, to be applied to revitalize the soil and maximize the harvest.
Top Bio is a liquid bio-pesticide to be sprayed to protect crops against pests.
Our products are less expensive and easier to preserve than traditional chemical products. They meet international standards and are certified by ECOCERT according to the European standard UAB (Usable in Organic Agriculture). Their effectiveness is validated by researchers and farmers.
Studies have shown that 1 € invested in Bio Phyto generates 35 € of social impact. Around our company, more than 1,200 low-income people, mostly women and young people, are organized into groups for the planting and collection of our raw materials. They earn additional income that they use for the schooling of their children, access to health care…
BIO PHYTO is first and foremost a social enterprise with a huge impact: preservation of public health, improvement of the yield of small producers, protection of the environment…
In Benin, we are the leader in the production and marketing of organic inputs.
We federate a network of more than 15,000 farmers at the national and pan-African level (Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Ivory Coast, Mali…). Moreover, we are looking for partners to develop our activity in other countries.
Financially, we have succeeded in convincing investors to help us scale up.
In 2017, we received several awards and honors, including: the Africa-France Innovation Award from the World Bank in Bamako, Mali; the Africa Innovative Company Award from HUB Africa in Morocco; and the Young Francophone Entrepreneur Award from the International Organization of the Francophonie.
We invite farmers to produce healthy products with fertilizers and pesticides that respect the environment and public health. As for consumers, we advise them to demand healthy products and to be careful about what they eat.