New release: 2020 State of the Sector Report and Executive Summary. Read about CSAF’s response to COVID-19, lending data from 2019, and priorities for 2020.

Case Studies

© Shared Interest

CSAF members lend to agricultural SMEs and producer organizations, who, in turn, serve thousands of smallholder farmers. The case studies in this section focus on several of these enterprises and the ways in which they generate positive social and environmental impact.

Sol Organica

Sol Organica is a certified B-Corporation working to improve the livelihoods of tropical fruit farmers in Nicaragua. The enterprise sources, processes, and exports pureed, juiced, and dried tropical fruits, while working closely with its suppliers to improve agricultural practices. The majority of Sol Organica’s sales come from organic puree of pitahaya, more commonly known as dragon fruit. This and other products—processed from mango, coconut, passionfruit, banana, and other fruits—are exported primarily to the US, as well as Brazil and European markets.

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Cooperativa Agroindustrial Cacao Alto Huallaga

For decades, rural communities on the slopes of the tropical Andes in Peru have been caught between drug traffickers and poverty, leading many farmers to cultivate illegal coca to earn a steady income. In response, USAID and the government of Peru have financed projects encouraging farmers to switch from coca to cocoa. In addition to being a legal crop, cocoa is well-adapted to a warming climate.

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Coconut Holdings Limited (CHL)

Based in the Kwale region of Kenya, Coconut Holdings Limited (CHL) produces certified organic and Fairtrade coconut oil and associated products for the local market. CHL creates substantial value for its farmer suppliers and employees. For example, it guarantees farmers a fixed price that is, on average, 50% higher than the market price. CHL also provides technical assistance to its suppliers at its own expense, helping them access and maintain organic and Fairtrade certifications.

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Chamwino Super Sembe Supply Ltd

Based in Dodoma, central Tanzania, Chamwino Super Sembe Supply Ltd sources maize from smallholder farmers and processes fortified maize flour for domestic food consumption. Maize is the staple food for the majority of Tanzanians and it is a critical crop for food security. Most maize in Tanzania (80 percent) is produced by small-scale farmers and it is grown both for subsistence and as a cash crop. Yet very little of the maize that is domestically grown is nutritionally fortified before it reaches consumers. By contrast, Chamwino mills maize into flour while fortifying it with iron, zinc, folic acid, and other vitamins. Chamwino supplies its products to wholesalers, retailers, and government agencies, as well as hospitals, public schools, and colleges across the country.

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Union de Ejidos y Comunidades San Fernando, S.P.R. de R.I (UES)

UES is a group of 1,379 coffee producers in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. The cooperative was founded in 1984 and became the very first Fair Trade certified organization in Mexico in 1991. Since its founding, UES has offered technical assistance to its farmers to improve coffee quality. The cooperative provides farmers inputs, such as seedling coffee varietals that are tailored to the weather patterns and altitudes of different farms. It also provides farmers training on agricultural practices, including organic farming standards.

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MLR Forestal de Nicaragua SA

The natural forest in Nicaragua has decreased from 7.2 million hectares to 2.4 million hectares in the last 25 years. MLR Forestal de Nicaragua SA was created in 2013 by three entrepreneurs who sought to provide a buffer to the Bosawas UNESCO Biosphere Reserve by planting and managing an agro-forestry system that inter-crops cocoa with shade-providing teak trees. MLR will also keep 30% of land under management as natural forest. This will protect the rivers and streams from erosion and provide protection and habitat for native flora and fauna. Starting in 2030, MLR expects that future planting will occur on previously harvested lands, making its business model sustainable.

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Enterprise Solutions to Saving the Amazon

Though it may seem counterintuitive, the world’s top exporter of Brazil nuts is not the product’s namesake but rather neighboring Bolivia. Grown in the depths of the Amazon, the Brazil nut presents distinct environmental and agricultural challenges, as well as opportunities.

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The outbreak of coffee leaf rust a few years ago hit Honduran coffee farmers especially hard, destroying a large percentage of trees and leading the government to declare a state of emergency in January 2013. After seeing their parents grapple with this challenge, many young people chose to leave rural communities behind and migrate to cities in Honduras or onward to the United States.

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Aldea Global

Aldea Global is a leading association of smallholder farmers in the mountainous region of northern Nicaragua, where the majority of the country’s coffee is grown. Founded in 1992, the association facilitates access to credit, technical assistance, and commercialization services for nearly 5,000 farmers.

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Enterprise Cooperative Kimbe

Founded in 2004, Enterprise Cooperative Kimbe, known as Ecookim, has a simple motto: “unity is strength.” The organization is a union comprised of smaller cooperatives that purchases, processes, and exports cocoa beans from thousands of smallholder producers. These producers cultivate over 40,000 hectares of land in Western and Northern Ivory Coast, regions that suffer from high unemployment, poverty and poor infrastructure. Because of Ecookim, they now have more direct access to markets and premium prices for their cocoa.

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