Chain projects to strengthen local communities
Through international chain projects, we want to provide small agricultural producers in developing regions with levers to improve their own living conditions.
Market access for small agricultural producers
Every product on our shelves is an opportunity to make a positive difference. Many family farms in developing regions have the potential for high-quality sustainable production. Due to lack of money, knowledge or certification, they find it difficult to access better-paying export markets on their own.
In this case, we consider whether an international chain project is a solution. Together with the farmers and other chain stakeholders, we develop an efficient and sustainable production chain: we guarantee a market, help to improve the quality and sustainability of their product (through knowledge transfer, (technical) support, financing) and where possible we also support these communities with training projects of Collibri Foundation. In our international chain projects, all partners work closely together and focus on long-term thinking and win-win solutions.
Economic, social and environmental impact
When we set up or support a chain project, we commit ourselves to buying a fixed and substantial volume from the farmers' organisations at a good price and to offer it for sale in our Belgian shops (under our own brands such as Boni or Graindor). This way, farmers see their incomes increase and can invest more.
From our side, we expect the producers to deliver quality, to produce sustainably with respect for people and the environment, and also to educate themselves in matters such as logistics, processing and sales. Our partners are given the time and the necessary guidance to adapt step by step to the higher requirements.
Criteria for chain projects
Before we enter a chain project, we carry out extensive preliminary studies and look at the extent to which farmer cooperatives are already organised. Depending on this, we either strengthen existing chains or develop new ones. In doing so, we take into account a number of criteria:
- We always choose products from developing countries or regions.
- We support small family producers/farmers, organised in cooperatives or through a sustainable partner.
- We always work with independent partners such as NGOs, experts, universities, non-profit organisations, etc. to ensure a good follow-up on site.
- Preferably, projects are achievable within a maximum of five years, after which the cooperatives must be able to take control of the entire chain. We build in sustainability mechanisms from the start.
- Export is one thing, but the chain must also be a lever for farmers to become stronger in the local market.
Curious about our chain projects?
In cooperation with Rikolto, in 2020 we made a nice overview of the international chain projects that we have been involved in over the past 15 years. You will find many tips & tricks for the development of a successful chain project. In our stores, you can already find some 40 private label products from chain projects. The aim is to systematically increase this number in the coming years.