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The NGO Helvetas works on their behalf, together with other NGOs, fair trade partners, buyers, local governments, and financiers. With their assistance, farmers can make their production more sustainable, gain a better position in the global market, and earn higher incomes as a result.
More than 90,000 families in Peru owe their livelihoods to the production of cocoa. But more than one third of them live under the poverty line. Their harvests don’t yield enough production because they lack the knowledge necessary to improve the quality of their cocoa to earn higher prices for their crops. The farmers also suffer from the consequences of climate change, which are causing crop diseases among some varieties of cocoa beans with productivity losses as a result. To avoid this, farmers need to use extra weed control and pesticides, which in turn reduces the quality of their produce.
Helvetas: power in partnership
The Swiss NGO Helvetas has been active in Peru since 1982, and has built up a strong network in the country. Its position has enabled it to bring together local governments, knowledge institutes, fair trade organizations, other NGOs and financiers. Rabo Foundation has recently joined in a unique partnership with Helvetas, cocoa wholesaler ECOM, the Earthworm fund, chocolatier Choba Choba, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, fair trade organization Max Havelaar, sustainability consulting institute South Pole and the local government of San Martín in northern Peru.
The multi-stakeholder approach helps several farmers’ cooperatives in the San Martín region to:
All of this makes the smallholder farmers more resilient against climate change, reduces their greenhouse gas emissions and increases the productivity of their cocoa farms. The Helvetas partners can then help them sell their sustainable cocoa on the global market, while restoring Peru’s nature, allowing the Peruvian farmers to increase their prosperity and build a better future for themselves and their country.
The impact forecast
Helvetas and Rabo Foundation
In 2020, we joined Helvetas’ partners as a financier and sealed our partnership with a financial contribution. We also shared our knowledge on trade finance mechanisms and network, for example by introducing the cocoa cooperatives that we already support via other means into contact with Helvetas. We want to contribute by helping to elaborate a green finance mechanism that provides incentives for farmers to use the production techniques they will learn with the program. That will allow them to grow cocoa more sustainably. In 10 years’ time we will be able to see the complete results of the project.
We chose for this collaborative effort because Helvetas’ mission and those of its partners are directly tied with our impact goal of facilitating climate smart agriculture. Thanks to the project, smallholder farmers will become more resilient against climate change and will sustainably increase their incomes. Their high-quality cocoa in turn strengthens the sustainable cocoa chain – yet another one of our impact goals.