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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 members Alterfin, Root Capital, and Shared Interest, the cooperative has expanded from 1,450 to 2,500 cocoa farmers (21% of them women). In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted CADESA’s operations: delays were experienced throughout the supply chain and buyers temporarily reduced their volume of activity. Despite the market uncertainty, Alterfin, Root Capital, and Shared Interest continued to finance CADESA, providing $1.7M in financing last year that enabled the cooperative to purchase more than 7,500 tons of cocoa on time—more than triple the amount purchased in 2016. Since this financing specifically supported sales of certified cocoa (Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance), CADESA continued to receive significant premiums on its sales. The cooperative used these premiums to organize campaigns to raise awareness of COVID-19 and distribute personal protective equipment to more than 1,700 members. This was combined with food supplies for more vulnerable members. In keeping with its commitment to long-term support, Alterfin also disbursed an additional loan of EUR 100,000 to CADESA for the purchase of two trucks to collect cocoa beans. Faced with the logistical challenges caused by restrictions on movement, this investment enabled the cooperative to continue collecting its members’ produce. According to Armand Nemlin, treasurer of the cooperative’s board: “By responding favorably and quickly to our requests and by proving its trust in us, Alterfin encouraged our other lenders and business partners to put their trust in us as well.”

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