I see all the players in a particular sector and build relations with all levels – from the CEO of the financial partner institution to the small producers working the field. That is how you learn the true meaning of impact investment!
Agro Investment Manager Incofin (Colombia)
My father himself built our farm thirty years ago. I run it now. It is important that the business stays in the family. It gives me job security and my mother has a roof over her head. We harvest the coffee beans by hand because our plantation is situated on steep slopes. But it is getting increasingly difficult to find seasonal workers. And every day we are confronted with the consequences of global warming: extreme droughts and plagues.
Fortunately the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes provides support and training. There I heard that coffee plants thrive when they are placed in a shady location. So we planted trees and banana plants in the field. In between coffee harvests we gain an extra income from the bananas.
I received financial support during my studies, and I am still attending a programme called Cafeteros Conectados. We make use of modern technology. We even use tablets. The growth of our farm occurred gradually. Bit by bit we bought extra plots of land. With the help of the cooperative I learnt that you need a minimum scale size to ensure a decent existence and to remain above the poverty line.
Daniel, 27 years old
Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes, across the generations
Some of Incofin cvso’s investments go directly to microfinance institutions – such as the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes – via an intermediate step with the Fairtrade Access Fund (FAF). The Cooperativa is the owner of the coffee-producing brand delosAndes.
The Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes has a dual goal: they want to help the members and their families grow, and develop the region at the same time. They do this, among other things, by guaranteeing minimum prices, investing in technological development, and providing training to the younger generations. The training Nueva Generación motivates sons and daughters to follow in their parents’ footsteps as coffee farmers. They are trained to be professional farmers: skilful and technically schooled entrepreneurs.
The small farmers of the delosAndes coffee plantations are facing various challenges. The plantations are situated on steep slopes, meaning that the fields cannot be worked mechanically. In other words, all the work is done by hand. In addition the farmers are confronted with the issue of global warming and the consequences thereof. The Cooperative teaches them how to tackle this problem by providing them with technical support.
Juan David Rendón is the general director of the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes.
Key figures December 2016