COVID-19 is heavily impacting the lives of smallholder farmers and farm workers, who are at high risk of illness, loss of employment and income due to the crisis. Supporting the producers affected by this emergency is key to protecting their safety, livelihoods and global food security. Investing in long-term solutions that will strengthen the resilience of farming communities, while also protecting the environment is the forward-looking way to lasting impact.
Realizing this vision requires strong partnerships. Incofin is joining forces with Fairtrade International, which launched the Fairtrade Producer Relief Fund and the Fairtrade Producer Resilience Fund in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Relief Fund intends to meet the immediate needs of farmers, workers and their communities, while the Resilience Fund aims to support economic recovery by addressing the medium to long term needs of Fairtrade certified producers as they look at business continuity in a COVID-19 world. The initial investment of EUR 3.6 million between the two funds, contributed by Fairtrade International and its member organizations, is expected to mobilize additional pledges from other donors.
COVID-19 safety protocols at the collection center of the Peruvian cocoa cooperative ACOPAGRO
Fairtrade International is a founding sponsor and shareholder of the Fairtrade Access Fund (“FAF”), an impact fund advised by Incofin, which invests in Fairtrade and sustainably certified organizations (producer organizations, agricultural value chain SMEs and MFIs). FAF aims to address the financing and technical assistance needs of smallholder farmers, thus contributing to the improvement of their wellbeing and communities while promoting a sustainable food system for the world. FAF partners with around 30 Fairtrade certified producer organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The majority of these organizations are active in the coffee and cocoa values chains, which are among the top Fairtrade commodities.
In order to scale the provision of relief and economic recovery support to a larger number of institutions within the Fairtrade network, Incofin is providing EUR 200,000 to the aforementioned Fairtrade COVID-19 Producer Funds. This donation comes from the Technical Assistance Facility of the Fairtrade Access Fund (“TAF”), which is funded by KFW, FMO and BIO. The contribution will enable the provision of grants to the Fairtrade certified producer organisations, which are FAF clients in Africa and Latin America to support their producers. Part of this support will target longer-term interventions, such as business restoration and diversification, transitioning to organic production practices and climate change resilience, establishing food security and supporting other activities that will generate added value for the farmers. The donation will be managed by the Fairtrade Producer Networks – CLAC (La Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Pequeños Productores y Trabajadores de Comercio Justo) in Latin America and Fairtrade Africa.
The Fairtrade COVID-19 Producer Funds present a unique opportunity to efficiently address the challenges brought about by the global pandemic. This partnership is also a reflection of the strong commitments from Fairtrade International and Incofin to maximize impact within the farming communities and to facilitate investments in sustainable agriculture.
Darío Soto Abril, CEO of Fairtrade International says, “Fairtrade farmers and agricultural workers have been pillars in their communities, using their own funds to support health efforts and to provide food to those in need. These producers are creative and resilient, and Incofin’s commitment to the Fairtrade COVID-19 Producer Funds will enable them to take bold steps to meet the challenges of this time, and evolve toward more sustainable livelihoods.”
Viktoria Popova, Incofin’s Technical Assistance Manager shares, “At Incofin, we continuously explore possibilities of providing relevant support to our clients. Technical Assistance is an important instrument of addressing the challenges our portfolio companies face. COVID-19 has a tremendous impact on businesses and communities we work with. Partnering with Fairtrade International is very important as we aim to create lasting change among the farming communities and transform the global food system. I am extremely thankful to our donors for their support of this forward-looking initiative.”
– Viktoria Popova, TA Manager at Incofin