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.

COOSEMPODA

For Nicaraguans buying cabbage at their local grocer, the chances are high that it’s grown by a farmer-member of Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples Padre Odorico de Andrea R.L. (COOSEMPODA). This small cooperative aggregates produce from members, washes it to market standards, and sells it onward to supermarkets—supplying 80% of the country’s market for cabbage along […]

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Sol & Café

In 2008, a number of small farmer groups in northern Peru gathered together to found the Sol & Café cooperative with the goal of accessing higher prices on the international market. In 2009, the cooperative received a loan for $400k from Root Capital—their first from a future CSAF member—to finance their exports of 670 metric […]

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Kennemer Foods International

Cocoa is a risky business. Between long timelines from planting to harvest, climate vulnerability, and a volatile global market—farmers and agri-SMEs alike face myriad challenges. In the Philippines, Kennemer Foods International (KFI) manages these risks for its business and the 20,000 farmers it supports on Mindanao Island. In 2017, Alterfin provided the business its first […]

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Nyamurinda Coffee

Francine Nahimana and Immaculée Mukamana started with 20 hectares and a vision of a brighter future for their community in rural Rwanda. As their neighbors continued to rebuild in the wake of the Rwandan Genocide, these two women launched Nyamurinda Coffee to aggregate their community’s crops and sell directly to buyers in Europe. This direct […]

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East Africa Fruits

More than 40% of fresh fruits and vegetables produced in Tanzania do not reach consumers—this loss represents a significant drop in farmer incomes and a hit to national food security at a high environmental price. Without formal market linkages, farmers are left scrambling to find buyers for their crops before they spoil. Elia Timotheo saw […]

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Eximcruz

In the rainforest of Bolivia, Eximcruz is improving the livelihoods of over 1,000 Brazil nut harvesters while protecting one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems. Also grown in Peru and its namesake Brazil, more than half of the global supply of Brazil nuts comes from Bolivia. Most of these nuts are wild-harvested by indigenous communities […]

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Mountain Lion Agriculture

Rice is a staple grain in Sierra Leone, but high import prices and low local production are threatening the nation’s food security. Local smallholders lack access to high-quality inputs like seeds or equipment, and the impacts of climate change are making it ever more challenging to grow rice. Once they harvest their crops, farmers do […]

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UCMECS

By 2050, the global food system needs to feed an additional two billion people while drastically reducing its climate footprint. Despite agriculture making up one-third of global emissions and an annual investment need of $350 billion to transform the global food system, less than 5% of climate finance is currently being allocated to sustainable food […]

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CECAFE

In northern Peru, the CECAFE cooperative connects over 900 Fairtrade- and organic-certified coffee farmers in the town of Lonya Grande with the international market. Root Capital was the first CSAF member to work with CECAFE, providing a loan of $200K in 2011. Since then, CSAF members have been pivotal in accompanying the cooperative’s growth with […]

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Agricola Santa Amalia

Based in the valley of Comonfort in central Mexico, Agricola Santa Amalia is a privately owned farm focused on producing high-value lettuce and other horticultural products for export markets. Since receiving its first loan from CSAF member Rabo Rural Fund in early 2020, Santa Amalia has increased its revenue by 15% over the past year. […]

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Muungano

Muungano and CPNCK are two organic and Fair Trade coffee cooperatives in South Kivu, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Muungano is located three hours south of Goma on the steep shores of Lake Kivu, while CPNCK operates on Idjwi Island, a large island of green hills in the middle of the lake. Both […]

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Natural Extracts Industries Ltd.

In early 2021, CSAF established a Loan Workouts Working Group with the goal of developing guiding principles and protocols for operationalizing the higher-level Responsible Lending Principles. The working group has documented case examples, mapped loan workout processes, and developed a Memorandum of Understanding among CSAF members to guide member collaboration in situations where borrowers in […]

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CADESA

CADESA was founded in 2003 in an area of southwest Côte d’Ivoire known for significant cocoa production. In addition to improving farmer access to fair trade markets, the cooperative implements projects to enhance women’s inclusion in the cocoa value chain and to improve environmental sustainability of members’ cocoa production. Since 2016, with support from CSAF […]

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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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COCAFELOL

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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