Empowering a New Generation of Farmers
Colombia-based organic snack producer Fruandes Frutos de los Andes SAS has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to train and support 500 smallholder farmers in organic farming practices, and increase the incomes of 1,500 people working in agriculture by the end of 2020.
Colombia is one of the most bio-diverse nations in the world, but it also suffers from poverty and inequality. Although a large part of Colombia’s population is involved in agriculture, many young people are moving away from this livelihood since they do not consider it to have a solid future. As a result, farmers’ traditionally important role in Colombian society no longer commands the respect it once did. And while the country has an abundance of arable land and lush soil, indiscriminate use of chemicals is polluting the environment and reducing the quality of farmers’ produce.
At the same time, increasing global demand for high-quality, healthy foods is creating unprecedented opportunity for farmers in the country. Fruandes has seized this opportunity with an inclusive farmer-centered business model that connects small-scale farmers with health-conscious global markets, boosting livelihoods while supporting the production of pure, sourceable healthy food.
The company has built its inclusive value chain on consumers’ growing understanding that even the most nutritious foods can have negative health effects if they are chemically treated. Consumers’ increasing knowledge and shifting preferences are changing the way food is produced: in 2015, the global market for organic food was US$104.7 billion. By providing fair prices for small farmers growing organic fruit for its healthy snacks, Fruandes is providing a decent and dignified living for families in Colombia’s most remote and marginalized areas.
The company is able to reach small-scale farmers by partnering with farmer associations. After informing the association leaders about its needed supply, Fruandes works with them to plan crop cycles and time cultivation so that production matches demand. It also provides farmers with critical technical support to grow the best-quality produce and maximize value for money. As a result of its responsible practices, farmers’ profit margin averages 25 percent – significantly higher than most small-scale farmers in Colombia have earned before.
As a result of its partnerships with small-scale farmer associations, Fruandes has seen significant growth over the past three years. In 2017 the company is opening a new plant, which multiplied by four its production capacity, and it aims to increase its organic certified growing area eightfold by 2020. As part of its BCtA commitment, the company is supporting the establishment of a new spin-off company in which farmers associations themselves are shareholders, further strengthening their position in the global market.