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© Rikolto


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 with significant amounts of carrots, green peppers, and potatoes. Yet, this hasn’t always been the case. Until recently, the cooperative didn’t have facilities large enough to process all of their members’ products, forcing farmers to sell much of their crop for lower prices to predatory offtakers.

In a country hit hard by the 2018 U.S. political sanctions, having a strong domestic market for nutritious food is critical. That was especially true in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the national food supply. To help the cooperative commercialize more product for its members at better prices, Kampani offered COOSEMPODA a USD $215k subordinated loan to buy a new washing facility, start producing seedlings for farmers, and procure a refrigerated truck. Kampani was able to make this loan in part thanks to the technical assistance support that COOSEMPODA had received since 2016 from Rikolto, a partner of Kampani that builds the business management skills of agriSMEs. Rikolto helped COOSEMPODA professionalize their business operations, formalize their governance, and build their credit readiness. Technical assistance partnerships like these make investments in agri-SMEs less risky for lenders while expanding the level of impact that the borrower can have on its farmers.

This seven-year loan contains inclusion clauses, meaning that the cooperative has committed to increase its membership base by 50%, place at least one woman on the Board of Directors, and grow total participation by young people and women to at least 15% each. Together, COOSEMPODA and Kampani are boosting incomes for smallholder horticulturists, increasing inclusion in the industry, and ensuring a stable supply of nutritious food among political and economic uncertainty.

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