Smallholder farmers in Colombia are transitioning out of the informal economy, forming cooperatives to grow and take advantage of economies of scale while expanding their range of buyers. To accelerate this process, Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Colombia is looking for volunteers to support smallholder associations in developing business plans for fresh produce enterprises to ensure the growth and sustainability of their businesses.
F2F Colombia has partnered with Corpovalle (https://corpovalle.co/), a non-profit, development agency, focused on planning, evaluating and implementing agricultural development projects in Colombia’s Valle del Cauca department. Their goal is to scale-up 54 smallholder agricultural associations located on the foothills of the department, some of which have been particularly struck by violence, by strengthening their business and technical capabilities. CorpoValle receives both public (USD $6 million) and private (USD $7 million) capital and focuses on nine fruit and vegetable value chains: lulo, blackberry, pineapple, citrus fruits, avocado, grape, guava, plantain, and chontaduro (peach palm fruit). They have already mapped 1,050 hectares with drones and continue to estimate their influence area. The benefited organizations reach 1,700 fruit and vegetable growers in 29 municipalities, impacting 3,383 households (approximately 12,000 people).
It is expected that, at the end of the assignments, the volunteers will have assessed the organizations’ business model(s), completed sustainability and/or organizational assessments, helped author a business plan with the host(s), and provided recommendations for improvement or for future F2F volunteer training. The assignment requires a two-week on-ground presence in Colombia. The program has a small budget to cover airfare, local accommodation, and transportation for the two-week duration.
Desired Qualifications of Volunteer
MBA and experience working with fresh produce commercialization, or Bachelor’s degree with significant experience in fresh produce management
Language: Spanish fluency preferred
Experience training adults in business skills and business planning preferred
Experience developing business plans with small business owners and cooperatives preferred
Experience in fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains, shelf life and logistics preferred
Experience working in a developing country preferred
Additional Salary Information: The program has a small budget to cover airfare, local accommodation, and transportation for the two-week duration.
About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation is implementing the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Rural Enterprise Development (RED) strategy in Colombia to support the development, application, and expansion of financial, commercial and technical agricultural services for smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, with the intention of generating sustainable, broad-based economic growth and job creation.
The program objectives are:
1) to expand agricultural sector access to financial services; and
2) to increase agricultural sector productivity and profitability, thereby raising incomes and creating jobs.
Volunteers will be deployed to address systemic capacity constraints for farmers and lenders in the country to unlock finance for improved agricultural production; new access to finance will lead to broader utilization of agricultural technologies and increased sales and incomes. Our demand-driven approach will resolve specific market constraints to increase farmers’ and agribusinesses’ access to opportunities for growth through productivity, production efficiency, and market connectivity.