COMVAL (formerly Exportexa)

Exportexa Team

Profile of CONTIGO´s partner COMVAL (formerly Exportexa)

Supply chain

  • Trade partner: COMVAL S.A.S, small microenterprise
  • Function: Producer
  • Structure: Own production premises
  • Distribution: Direct import CONTIGO


Hammocks, hammock chairs and cushion covers made of cotton and polyester


Colombia to Europe (Source: Google Earth)

Barranquilla, Colombia (ca. 1,000 km north of Bogotá, at the Caribbean Sea) – distance to Europe: 8,500km

Founded in 2004


  • 2004: Founding of Exportexa (later on: COMVAL) with three employees, trading company for yarns on the local market and the Caribbean islands; customers were local craftsmen who produced tableware and hammocks by hand
  • 2006: Takeover of the distribution and export of these textiles, expansion of the product range to include further home textiles
  • 2008: Purchase of own machine looms and development of the production of hammocks and hammock chairs, number of employees increases by 10 persons
  • Till 2018: Expansion of the production plant
  • 2018: Consolidation of the two production halls, purchase of new looms, overhaul of old production equipment in the factory
  • 2019: Extension of the home textile range for hotels, catering. In result: restructuring of the company
  • End of 2019: Hammock division is outsourced to subsidiary COMVAL, home textile ranges are continued to be handled by Exportexa
  • 2020/2021: Situation under Corona-pandemic
    • 2020: Slow down production due to nationwide lockdown, thanks to official work permits and hygiene regulations, production can continue on a limited scale. Employees from rural areas have problems getting to work due to limited public transport.
    • 2021: In April also COMVAL employees were infected with Covid-19, in addition (material) supplier companies had to close down completely due to high infection numbers, curfews between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. delayed production processes
    • Despite the pandemic, the customer base grow so that production capacities increase (three new looms can be installed)

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2017

Why does CONTIGO work with COMVAL: A dedicated family-run business with deep commitment for its employees and for traditional craftsmanship. The hammocks and accessories made of recycled cotton convince with their unique designs and quality.

Structure of the business

Number of employees:

  • Managing director: Zaide Salebe, also responsible for: customer acquisition and support of existing customers, coordination between incoming orders and production, export of finished orders
  • 34 employees (12 women, 22 men)
    • 32 employees in production
  • For large and special orders, additional workers can be employed

Organisation of workforce: 

  • Production of hammocks, hammock chairs and other home textiles:
    • 1. production step: Weaving of fabrics
      • The yarn is twisted to the desired thickness on spinning machines
      • The chain is threaded on by hand according to a defined design (by special hole guide, duration: approx. 4-6 hours)
      • Mechanical weaving process into firm lengths of fabric, which are then wrapped into bales and transported to the second production hall
    • 2. production step: Manual finishing of the hammocks
      • Quality control and cutting of the delivered fabric bales into hammocks, hammock chairs, etc.
      • Depending on order: twisting the loose warp threads into “cadejos” (twisted braids as a connection between hammock fabric and hanging cords)
      • Knotting and mounting of the suspension by male employees on racks
      • Renewed quality control and packaging
  • Used materials
    • Polycotton: Mixture of recycled cotton fibres (75%) and polyester (25%). The cotton fibres come from waste materials from the clothing industry
    • The wood used for the bars comes from regional plantations and is felled under governmental concession. The plantations are awarded a reforestation certificate according to strict criteria


  • Home market (25%), predominantely to tourists
  • Exports (75% ) to France, Spain, Germany, Greta Britain, Japan, Martinique, Canada, Netherlands


  • Finding an overseas cooperation company to strengthen the export assortment. Aim: purchase of efficient looms for new weave sizes and fabric designs in Jacquard technique
  • Where possible: to change to environmentally friendly materials


Fairtrade classification

FTA= Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects

COMVAL complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Fair wages

  • Statutory minimum wage in Colombia: COP 1,014,980.00 / month (COP = Colombian Peso), transport allowance included, ca. US$ 252 (currency exchange rate of November 2021)
  • Average wage at COMVAL: above average
    • Un-skilled employees: US$ 270-300/month
    • Skilled employees: US$ 300-550/month, depending on department
    • All wages are increased annually by the percentage increase of the statutory minimum wage (2019: 4% / 2020: 6%)
  • All employees receive a fixed salary
  • Payment twice a month in cash or by bank transfer
  • Bonus payments:
    • Night shifts are remunerated + 35 %
    • For “employee of the month”
  • COMVAL pays the statutory compensations for her salaried employees:
    • Payment of the 13th monthly salary (“cesantía”): this is paid directly into a state pension fund at the beginning of the year. The interest of this salary (12%) is directly paid out to the employee
    • Payment of the 14th salary / holiday bonus (“prima de servicios”)
    • Transport allowance is paid
    • Overtime is remunerated in accordance with statutory regulations, as well as a free meal

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day (up to 10 hours by huge orders)
  • 3 breaks for breakfast, lunch and snack
  • 5 days/week (up to 6 days by huge orders)

Social benefits:

COMVAL pays the statutory compensations for all salaried employees:

  • Employees have health insurance through EPS
  • Pension fund: employer pays 12%, employee pays 4% of monthly gross wage
  • Continued payment of wage in case of sickness, accidents and maternity leave (statutory regulations)
  • Paid leave (20 national and religious holidays, plus 15 recreation days)
  • All employees are covered by COMVAL´s  indemnity insurance
  • On the total amount of her salary costs COMVAL pays social contributions to the following institutions (statutory):
    • the national vocational training service SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje, no payments are due in 2021 as the company hosts an apprentice for a certain period of time),
    • the national family aid organisation ICBF (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar),
    • and to various family recreation centres (Cajas de Compensación Familiar).
  • Various team-building activities, celebrations, e.g. International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, etc.

Occupational safety:

  • All safety standards are met
  • Working and safety gear is provided



  • Work contracts are available
  • Pay slips are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO


  • Personal visits in Barranquilla (2017)


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Colombia



Visiting Exportexa (later on COMVAL) 2017


Author: Janina Lange on 6. December 2021

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