SEFADES, Oxfam and Twin Holdings support fair trade of Haitian coffee
RECOCARNO (Réseau des Coopératives Caféières de la Région Nord), a network of eight small coffee-producer cooperatives in northern Haiti, was launched with support from several partners, including a fair trade buyer, local and international NGOs, and an international strategic marketing expert.
SEFADES (Service de Formation et d’Action pour le Développement Economique et Social), a locally based NGO, offered technical assistance, field work, and support to the RECOCARNO cooperatives in the initial phase of selling their coffee on the fair trade market. Oxfam GB, a UK-based development and humanitarian agency, provided initial funding and technical field support, while also serving as a conduit with buyers. Twin Trading Ltd. has provided invaluable pre-financing, marketing, trading, product feedback, and quality control experience.
Since becoming certified through the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations (FLO) in 1997, RECOCARNO has steadily implemented a plan to build a producer-owned and -operated export business. By 2003, RECOCARNO had ended its partnership with SEFADES and moved its headquarters out of the SEFADES office, establishing its own office. SEFADES now uses its experience to assist other local cooperatives in accessing the fair trade cacao market. Twin Holdings continues to be a loyal buyer and fair trade partner to RECOCARNO by offering training in export and management issues. Oxfam GB continues to facilitate new funding sources for RECOCARNO, such as the UK National Lottery Community Fund for investment in improving infrastructure (i.e. washing stations, drying patios, etc.) and communications. RECOCARNO’s relationship with the USAID-funded HAP has helped to negotiate grants for a proposed central coffee mill and processing facility in northern Haiti.
RECOCARNO has become the “price setter” and dominant buyer of washed coffee in certain coffee-growing areas of northern Haiti. It is increasing its exports, offering diverse products and expanding their markets to include Japanese, Dutch, and German buyers.