La Lumière is one of the three independently operated factories that are part of the common brand "Benin Gold", located in northern Benin. Without Food Safety Certification, the factory experienced great difficulties in entering international markets. A couple of years ago, they have lost a great number of international contracts due to a lack of documents proving their conformity to food safety standards.
Orokonnon Séraphin, the quality manager explains: "We were almost desperate when we lost some our most important clients due to lack of safety certificates. We tried other, informal, ways of entering markets that kept on refusing our product, until BTC (Belgian Development Agency, executing partner of the project) showed up and lead us on quality monitoring. Before the arrival of the project, no quality procedures were put in place. The factory was not clean enough. Now we know better."
"Today, we are evolving towards a full HACCP control system in order to satisfy our clients including on the European market. Our product is of great quality and deserves to be consumed all over the world."
"Our staff is even applying at home what they have learned during the training. Therefore they live in a more hygienic and thus healthier environment. They wash their work outfit every day and attend regular medical check-ups. On the work floor they pay much attention to the cleanliness of their tools and the work environment. When the soap is finished, they even come and ask me for more!"
"We are continuously looking for new, creative ways for training our illiterate staff. Maybe by using songs or sign boards … together we will get there!"