Building Skills

Smallholder farmers in low-income countries have long been operating off the grid at the “last mile.” Even better-off farmers who are already selling to formal markets struggle to realize the full benefits of participation in high value markets.  

With additional knowledge or resources, these farmers could meet market standards or get certified to supply premium markets such as those for Fair Trade or organic products. 

We use mobile-equipped field agents to identify farmers, understand and build their capacity to meet market standards, and to regularly supply high quality markets..

Highlighted Programs:

Cafeteros Conectados: Helping Coffee Farmers Certify as High Quality Producers

In partnership with Starbucks and local organizations, we are enabling coffee cooperatives to better reap the rewards of premium certifications such as Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices and Fairtrade Coffee Certifications. 

Cafeteros Conectados (Connected Coffee Farmers) has a special focus on women. Over half of field agents and half of farmers are women—working with a crop that is usually male dominated.  And the program has built-in a system to evaluate and strengthen women’s leadership.

The program works with farmers to create farm management plans that enable farmers to structure investments, access training, and raise their productivity and crop quality. In the end, farmers are more likely to achieve Certification standards and realize better prices.  
The plans also allow the Cooperatives to verify that investments are being made as planned, and to support farmers when needed.

Cafeteros Conectados benefits buyers, exporters and other agricultural businesses as well by increasing visibility into coffee production levels, quality and certification compliance.

Initial program evaluation has shown that after 1.5 years, over 90 percent of farmers had adopted at least one good agricultural practice, and most reported improvements in the quality of their coffee. Many also experience an improved ability to manage their farms as a business—with an entrepreneurial focus.

Creating a Sweeter Future for Cocoa Farmers in Indonesia

Grameen Foundation is working with partners Mars chocolate and UTZ, a global organization that certifies sustainable cocoa farming operations, to create a sweeter future for cocoa farmers in Indonesia.

Currently, there are at least one million cocoa farmers in Indonesia who do not produce enough to support their families. Certification in sustainable farming practices provides access to a higher-paying market for their cocoa. The UTZ project is designing and deploying a smart inspection app to fast-track farmers in becoming more sustainable, resilient and profitable.

The app, co-designed, developed and deployed by Grameen Foundation with Mars and UTZ, will be used by field coordinators to streamline farmers’ application for sustainable certification, including from UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance. All farmers will be provided with a Farm Development Plan outlining the work and costs necessary to professionalize their farming and achieve their production goals. These plans give farmers and purchasers powerful insights to improve their operations.

The increase in sustainable practices together with the Farm Development Plan are expected to almost triple farmers’ productivity to nearly 2,000 kg of chocolate per hectare, up from 700 kg per hectare.