Végétaux d’Ailleurs International

Végétaux Team


Profile of CONTIGO´s partner Végétaux d’Ailleurs International

Quote: “Before they grow so big, the baobabs start out by being little.” (Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Supply chain

  • Trade Partner: Vegetaux d’ailleurs, microenterprise
  • Function: producer
  • Structure: own production facility
  • Distribution: direct import CONTIGO


Baobab saplings

Dakar to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)


Bandia, 75km east of Dakar, near the international airport “Blaise Diagne Dakar”, Senegal – distance to Europe: 4,600km

Founded in 2002


  • 1998: Végétaux d’Ailleurs starts as an association “Afrobonsai” (training programme for young people), sale of small, home-grown trees from their own nursery on the local market
  • 2002: Official foundation of Végétaux d’Ailleurs, the saplings and trees quickly become a success and international interest grows
  • Since 2005: Establishment of an own nursery near the town of Richard Toll in the north of Senegal on the border with Mauritania
  • 2005: CONTIGO meets Végétaux d’Ailleurs
  • 2006: Végétaux d’Ailleurs changes its company name to Végétaux d’Ailleurs International
  • 2009/2010: The company moves to Bandia, 75km east of Dakar: a property with a borehole (freshwater spring) can be found there
  • In the following years: continuous development, reconstruction, optimization of all processes
    • Construction of a water-saving droplet channel system to the individual field rows with baobab trees
    • Construction of greenhouses
  • Végétaux d’Ailleurs successfully sells its Baobabs to tourists through a shop in the neighbouring airport “Blaise Diagne Dakar”
  • Since March 2020: Corona pandemic has a major impact on their sales:
    • Home market crashes as no tourists can come to Senegal, many stores close (also the one at the airport)
    • Export orders are reduced in size or even canceled
    • Volimata and Philippe Raguin use their savings to pay full wages to the 25-47 seasonal workers who helped out during the rainy season

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2005

Why does CONTIGO work with Végétaux d’Ailleurs International:
The couple Volimata and Philipp Raguin have created an extraordinary project with the establishment of their tree nursery for baobab seedlings. With the simplest means, creative techniques, a lot of improvisation, but with horticultural passion, a green oasis has grown up in Bandia in the last few years. Many new jobs have been created in the tree nursery and the work in the shipping department. CONTIGO first launched the small seedlings in Germany in 2005 and has remained Vegetaux d’ailleurs’ most important distribution partner here. Between April and September, we receive monthly shipments of seedlings.

Philosophy of Végétaux d’Ailleurs nursery, written by Philippe Raguin: see PDF

Structure of the business

Number of employees: 

  • 1 full-time employee: Volimata Raguin
    • Managing directors: Volimata and Philippe Raguin (is in retirement)
  • 5 employees (year round)

Work environment:

The nursery of Végétaux d’Ailleurs owns and operates in more than 10 hectares

  • 2/3 of production are reserved for baobabs, production capacity is around 300,000 pieces / year
  • 1/3 is planted with other trees and plants (e.g. frangipani, moringa, Baobab chakal, etc.), permaculture, partly for research

Organisation of workforce:

Végétaux d’Ailleurs strives to offer its employees year-round work and income:

  • All year round tasks: planting, rearing and care of Baobab saplings
  • Between April and September: Harvesting / excavating the Baobabs for export
  • October: holiday month in Senegal
  • November to March: cleaning, maintenance repair of buildings, machinery, process improvements
  • Employees are trained in many activities and cultivation techniques, multi-skilling


  • Home Market (63%), sales via 80 stores and two distributors as well as a retailshop at airport “Blaise Diagne Dakar”
  • Exports (37%) to France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Japan

Special features

  • Due to regular income at Végétaux d´Ailleurs employees are able to send their children to school
  • Organic farming: no use of insecticides or chemical fertilisers: Végétaux d’Ailleurs uses natural fertilisers (the contents of its septic tank, regular emptying has significantly reduced the number of mosquitoes and malaria infection on the farm)
  • Care for employees, prevention and education:
    • Health education (emptying the septic tank has an effect on mosquitoes and thus on the risk of malaria infection)
    • They teach women to become more independent, more self-reliant and thus more autonomous of their husbands and families
    • Employment of mentally disabled workers for simple gardening activities
    • Consulting / education activities regarding the Senegalese social system (in case of need people can apply for state aid, e.g. child allowance)


Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects

Végétaux d´Ailleurs 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 V15

Many different ethnicities work together at Végétaux d’Ailleurs.

Fair wages

  • Average wage in the sector/region: € 62.65/month
  • Wages at Végétaux d’Ailleurs:
    • Year round employees receive € 140 – 465 / month
    • Seasonal employees receive daily wage which is customary in their town
  • Monthly payment of workers in cash
  • Bonus payments for religious holidays for all year round employees (€ 61):
    • Christmas bonus
    • Bonus for Eid al-Adha (Islam)
  • Bonus payment in case of need (for weddings or bereavements)
  • Higher wages in case of overtime

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day
  • 1 break (1 hour)
  • 6 days/week
  • less hours during the month of Ramadan

Social benefits:

All employees receive:

  • One month paid holidays (October, after all customer orders are exported)
  • Payment of contributions to pension insurance (IPRES = Instution de Prévoyance Retraite du Sénégal), Végétaux d’Ailleurs pays both contributions (from employer and employee, 30% of monthly gross wage each)
  • Year round employees receive free accomodation on the compound
  • In cases of simple illness, Végétaux dispenses medication to their employees
  • In case of need (e.g. death in the family): financial support and interest-free, longterm loans (which is deducted later against salaries,)

Educational opportunities:

See above „Special features“: care for employees, prevention and education



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



  • Volimata and Philippe Raguin visited CONTIGO in Göttingen (2018)


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Senegal



Volimata and Philippe Raguin visit the CONTIGO headquarter + public lecture at the CONTIGO Fairtrade Shop in Göttingen (September 2018): 



Photos from Bandia:


Vegetaux16 Vegetaux14 Vegetaux13

Author: Janina Lange on 1. April 2021

Last articles