Investing in Farmers
Providing access to credit at reasonable terms is a critical aspect of our farmer support model. By investing in farmer loans, we’re helping cooperatives manage risk and strengthen their businesses. We are currently on target to achieve our goal of increasing our farmer loans investment to $20 million by 2015.
We began investing in farmer loans in 2000, with an initial investment of $150,000 with Root Capital. In 2014 our total loan commitment grew to $16.3 million, including an increase of $3 million with Root Capital alone, bringing our total with them to $15 million. Our loan partners made loans in six countries in FY14 – Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras, Rwanda, Guatemala and Tanzania – to suppliers we both buy from as well as ones we do not.
We have also invested $1.3 million placed in 2013 in the Fair Trade Access Fund set up by Incofin Investment Management, Grameen Foundation and Fairtrade International. The fund provides financial and technical assistance to address the needs of smallholder farmers by investing in Fairtrade producer organizations and cooperatives.