2012

Co-Op Link

[iconbox title=”Contact Name: Jenna Larson” icon=”adress_book.png”]
Website: www.FairTradeUSA.org
Location: Various Coffee Growing Countries
Email Address: jlarson@fairtradeusa.org
Phone Number: 510-844-1668[/iconbox]

Project Description

ACommunity development plays a critical role in Fair Trade USA’s efforts to maximize the benefits of Fair Trade for producers and help build sustainable futures for farming communities around the world. Since 2006, Fair Trade USA and our partners have directly invested over $7.4 million in programs to help farmers improve quality, increase productivity, improve access to capital, and become stronger business partners.

Building on the success of these programs and feedback from partners and producers, Fair Trade USA has evolved its approach to development by creating innovative new partnerships with global financial institutions, industry partners, NGO’s, leading social entrepreneurs and in-country service providers. This new effort, called ‘Co-op Link’, builds on the unique role Fair Trade USA plays in linking organizations from all areas of the supply chain to maximize impact for producers.

To develop the program, Fair Trade USA surveyed farmers to better understand their most pressing needs. The noted areas were:
• Increased market opportunity
• Improved access to capital
• Expanded range of trainings
• Quality improvement initiatives

Fair Trade USA then worked with NGO’s and local service providers to execute the programs to meet the indicated needs, and in 2011 alone Fair Trade USA raised $2 million for producer programs. In addition, Fair Trade USA helped facilitate $3 million in affordable trade finance loans to cooperatives.

Who Benefits From This Project?

Co-op Link is an effort to strengthen small-scale farming organizations by providing cooperatives across multiple product categories with increased market opportunity in North America, improved access to capital and an expanded range of capacity building and quality improvement initiatives.

Here are some highlights from past and present Co-op Link projects to strengthen coffee-growning communities around the world:

Cooperative 101 Trainings in Rwanda – $1.3 million
This comprehensive 3-year program, in partnership with CoffeeRwanda, developed robust accounting practices, assisted in tracking production and sales information, initiated a women’s empowerment program and supported the creation of development tools for more.

Kenyan Coffee Project – $30,000
The Grassroots Business Fund partnered with Fair Trade USA to provide
Kenyan cooperatives with services in the following areas: capacity building and training, including certification and business management and cooperative governance and management, and market linkage services to connect cooperatives with services in the following areas: capacity building and training, including certification and business management and cooperative governance and management, and market linkage services to connect them to potential buyers in the United States.

Rebuilding Indonesian Coffee – $175,000
With funding from the Robobank Foundation and the Progreso Fund, Fair Trade USA is working with 8 middle to upper tier coffee cooperatives to provide emergency capacity building, technical assistance and to improve quality and efficiency. This project will help set Indonesian cooperatives up for success as coffee from the region continues to grow in popularity.

How Can I Help?

BTo deepen the impact of Fair Trade community development efforts, Fair Trade USA is engaging with leading social entrepreneurs and innovative development organizations to bring new approaches and sustainable solutions to Fair Trade communities.

Fair Trade USA is eager to partner with additional NGOs, funders and development consultants that share our mission to strengthen farming communities around the world. If your organization would like to join our Co-Op Link initiative, please e-mail us at info@FairTradeUSA.org

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