• coleacp
    40 years working for development
  • coleacp
  • coleacp

About us

An association of European and ACP businesses that promotes sustainable agriculture


40 years in development cooperation

Created in 1973 by key players in the international fruit and vegetable trade, the Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP) supports the agricultural sectors of developing countries.

a private sector association

Over 300 private businesses from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific who have come together to promote a competitive, sustainable horticultural trade, and to contribute to the development of the ACP agricultural sector.

a global vision of development

Assisting in the development of the ACP agro-industrial sector for a beneficial impact on the trade balance, food safety and poverty alleviation.

a technical assistance tool

Developing an effective capacity-building methodology based on technical support and training.

a public–private partnership

Implementing cooperation programmes funded by the European Union, at the request of the ACP States. The association manages these public funds with a common goal of alleviating poverty.

a team and a network of experts

A team of around forty people, based in Brussels, analyse the needs of beneficiaries and provide them with pooled solutions, which are then implemented by a network of 500 local consultants in 50 countries.

a commitment to sustainability

COLEACP’s objective is sustainable development, aiming for economic growth while respecting and enhancing the natural and social environment of the communities concerned.

a quest for inclusive growth

COLEACP’s aim is development that can be passed down through the value chains to society as a whole, particularly to small-scale producers.

A multiple services offer

Offering a multi-service provision to the international horticultural sector (R&D, market access, technical assistance, training, public relations, etc.)

mission coleacp

Our publications

Annual report




Activities by country


Key dates

  • 1973

    Creation of COLEAMA (Liaison Committee Europe-Africa-Madagascar) under the aegis of the European Commission at the International Fair in Brussels.

  • 1975

    First European actions aimed at promoting the West African mango funded by the European Commission.

  • 1976

    COLEAMA becomes COLEACP following the entry into force of the Lomé Convention signed between the EC and the ACP States.
    M. Libert Bou, assigned by General de Gaulle to relocate Les Halles de Paris to the Rungis International Market between 1961 and 1969 and first CEO of the Rungis International Market (1969-1976), became the first Managing Director of COLEACP (1976-1990).

  • 1977

    First missions to identify the needs of the horticultural export sectors and of the stakeholders in ACP countries in West Africa, East Africa and the Indian Ocean.

  • 1981

    First mission to provide information and pre-identify the needs of the horticultural export sectors and of the stakeholders in the ACP Caribbean countries.

  • 1982

    First interprofessional annual meetings Europe-ACP.

  • 1985

    First regional consultation meeting on air and sea transport in West Africa
    First marketing mission in Europe of French-speaking entrepreneurs and sales managers from ACP countries

  • 1986

    First information mission in West and Central Africa on the processing of fruit and vegetables.

  • 1990

    Signing of a 2-year contract with the Government of the Republic of Burundi for the setting up and running of an export support service for fruit and vegetables (SAE Burundi)
    M. Bernard Rouge was appointed General Delegate of COLEACP, replacing M. Libert Bou

  • 1993

    First marketing mission in Europe of English-speaking entrepreneurs and sales managers from ACP countries
    Creation of the Pineapple Regional Monitoring Committee (CRSA) following the Regional Symposium on quality, competitiveness and promotion of the West and Central African pineapple, made up of 6 pineapple producers of the West African coast: Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Togo

  • 1994

    Creation of the cut flowers and ornamental plants Department with the objective of accompanying the floriculture actors in ACP countries in the development of their exports to European and non-European markets (Middle East)
    Creation of the Regional Consultative Committee Horticulture

  • 1996

    Mrs Catherine Guichard was appointed General Delegate of COLEACP, replacing M. Bernard Rougé.

  • 2001

    Launch of the EU-funded COLEACP PIP Program at the request of the ACP group of states. Its aim is to preserve and, if possible, increase the contribution made by export horticulture to the reduction of poverty in ACP countries.

  • 2008

    PIP has been awarded by UNIDO.
    Chosen from over 120 innovative solutions for agribusiness and best practices that could be adapted and / or transferred to other regions or countries, from more than 65 countries, PIP receives the award for the best solution for section “Compliance with standards and compliance monitoring”.

  • 2009

    - Launch of the EU-funded COLEACP EDES Program at the request of the ACP group of states.
    - Participation of COLEACP in the PAEPARD Consortium, 80% EU-funded.
    - Launch of the second phase of PIP.
    - PIP has been awarded by EuropeAid (European Commission) for its communication.

  • 2011

    PIP was awarded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its communication ‘Small farmers are the answer “(portrait gallery).

  • 2013

    PIP signs its 1000th action plan in ACP (Cameroon).
    M. Guy Stinglhamber is appointed General Delegate of COLEACP, replacing Mrs Catherine Guichard.

Who does what?

The members

COLEACP is a non-profit association whose members are businesses and organisations involved in the development of agro-industrial sectors in ACP countries. The association’s 300 members are importers, exporters, consultants and other public and private sector service providers. Associations of small-scale producers are also represented. Together they represent 85% of the trade flows of fruit and vegetables from ACP countries to Europe. The members meet once or twice a year at a General Meeting.

The Board of Directors

COLEACP is managed by a Board of sixteen directors. Eight represent ACP members and eight represent members from the European Union. They are elected by the General Meeting for a three-year term. The Board of Directors meets at least twice a year to review the association’s strategy, operations and finances. It is divided into several sub-committees with specific duties, chiefly the executive committee and the strategy committee.

The Chairman (2013–2016)

Stephen Mintah

Stephen Mintah is an agronomist of Ghanaian nationality. He has chaired COLEACP’s Board of Directors since June 2013. Since 1998, he has also been director general of Sea-Freight Pineapple Exporters of Ghana (SPEG), an association of pineapple producers whose scope is to develop its members’ production. His relationship with COLEACP began in 1999, in a technical assistance capacity, which enabled SPEG to expand its exports to Europe. Following this collaboration, SPEG became a member of COLEACP and Stephen Mintah decided to become involved with the association’s activities.

The Delegate General

Guy Stinglhamber

A tropical agronomist of Belgian nationality, Guy Stinglhamber was appointed Delegate General of COLEACP in June 2013. He joined the association in 2001, first as head of the training unit, then as director of the PIP programme. His experience dates back to the 1980s, in Argentina and Costa Rica, where he founded the National Banana Export Scheme. He then spent over 20 years working with various donors on development projects in the private sector in Latin America and Africa.

The team

Coordination and centralisation

COLEACP centralises its operations at its Brussels office. Around fifty staff members coordinate the association’s initiatives and programmes. It is here that needs observed in the field are analysed in order to provide pooled solutions to the beneficiary organisations and businesses. This team is organised into departments, each specialising in a specific form of support: market research, technical support, training, R&D, public relations, communications, business development, etc.

Local experts

COLEACP is a network of 1000 field experts, 80% of whom are from ACP countries. Since the launch of the PIP programme, the goal has been to replace European consultants with local consultants, to ensure the technical and scientific input has a lasting impact. These consultants include agronomists, veterinarians and certification specialists. They visit the beneficiaries to assess their needs, train their staff or apply a quality standard. They do all of this using COLEACP methodology and tools.

The collaborative network

COLEACP collaborates regularly with:

  • key players in development cooperation: the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States, the services of the European Commission, and international institutions and organisations (World Bank, UNCTAD, CTA, FAO, OECD, WTO, UNIDO, etc.)
  • the private agro-industrial sector and agri-food industries: interprofessional associations (CELCAA, Croplife International, ECPA, volume retail brands, Freshfel, etc.)
  • NGOs (PAN, WWF, etc.)
  • research centres, universities and technical institutes (CIRD, INRA, NRI, IIED, University of Gembloux, etc.)

What do we do?


Market Intelligence

COLEACP monitors regulations on foodstuffs as well as private and corporate quality standards. This enables us to identify changes that a business or organisation should adopt in response to market requirements.


Technical assistance

COLEACP supports businesses and their service providers in developing their technical capacities. For example: setting up a quality or traceability system, obtaining certification, using new inputs, developing self-assessment, etc.



Strengthening capacities often means enhancing skills. COLEACP coordinates group and special training activities in the field or via distance learning to help beneficiaries achieve their goals.


Research & development

COLEACP develops agricultural solutions to help its members and beneficiaries improve the quality and profitability of their products and services. For example: controllinga pest, adapting to a standard or introducing a new variety.


Information and communication

COLEACP provides information on our activities in the field and shares thoughts on our mission and work with beneficiaries and development practitioners. COLEACP also ensures a broad distribution of its educational tools and technical guides.



COLEACP defends the interests of ACP agri-food chains on a national and international level, developing relationships with business leaders and governments, policy makers and donors.


Business Development

Identification and search of business opportunities including though the participation in business forums and fairs. Promotion of ACP origin. Improvement of competitiveness. Facilitating access to finance.

How do we do this?

coleacp see the website

Representing members

COLEACP is an association whose members represent 85% of the EU-ACP fruit and vegetable trade. It is responsible for managing this network of ACP exporters, European importers, professional associations and service providers.

coleacp see the website

For sustainable development of the ACP fruit and vegetables sector

Since 2001, COLEACP has been responsible for implementing the PIP programme, funded by the European Union. Objective: “To maintain and, if possible, increase the contribution made by export horticulture to the reduction of poverty in ACP countries”.

coleacp see the website

Improving food safety in ACP countries

Since 2010, COLEACP has been responsible for implementing the EDES programme, funded by the European Union. Objective: to strengthen the capacity of the ACP food sectors to supply safe foodstuffs to the local, regional and international markets.

coleacp see the website

Distance learning

Capacity building is largely based on training the beneficiaries, from exporters to small-scale producers. We therefore provide educational tools via a distance-learning platform.

coleacp see the website

Exchanging experiences

Planet is a social network connecting professional stakeholders from sustainable development and agriculture. It provides a forum for the community to exchange experiences, opinions and professional opportunities.

coleacp see the website

Consumer awareness

Mango! is a documentary about the social and economic importance of the mango industry in ACP countries. The aim is to raise awareness among the general public about the role the international fresh produce trade plays in sustainable development.

coleacp see the website

R&D Coordination Platform

PAEPARD is a programme 80% funded by the European Union. The aim of this project is to strengthen scientific and technical collaboration between Africa and Europe in the field of agricultural research for development (ARD). COLEACP is one of the eight partners of the Africa-Europe Consortium of this project led by FARA (Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa).


Inclusive models in the agri-foodstuff sectors


Innovation to promote food safety and nutrition in Europe and Africa




Special Issue on the ACP-EU private sector


COLEACP principles and intervention methods


COLEACP 2016, staying in the game ?



Contact us