It’s one thing to increase the crop yields of vulnerable, smallholder farmers in a climate-challenged corner of the world. Lots of organizations are working – and bearing fruit – in this capacity. It’s another thing entirely to transform these smallholder farmers into major agricultural producers, connect them with buyers, and strengthen the value chain of a commodity for an entire region. In my most recent assignment with Lutheran World Relief, I was commissioned to take a brief look at the SESAME project, a US Department of Agriculture-funded initiative that works not only to increase the quality and volume of sesame farmers in Burkina Faso, but also to strengthen the cooperative system in sesame growing regions of the county. By working in cooperatives, everyday farmers can negotiate higher prices, streamline quality, access inputs and enhance overall market conditions, all of which create a sustainable, private-sector led framework for the sale[…]Read More
Post Tagged with: "farmers"
While we’re on the subject of cocoa (see my previous post) I had an opportunity recently to photograph the work of Uganda’s first and only chocolate producer, Pink Foods Industries. While farmers have been cultivating cocoa in this East African nation for decades, Pink Foods is the first Ugandan company to process the beans into a finished consumer product. My client, Shared Interest, is financing the expansion of the company into a bigger processing center. As a fair trade ethical investment firm, Shared Interest was certainly more concerned with seeing the people behind the product, rather than the product itself. Once these pods are harvested, they’re split open to reveal a white, sweet, fleshy fruit, delicious to the taste, enveloping the cocoa beans. Many farmers make a habit of savoring this fruit as they work. Once this sweet flesh is removed, the beans are spread out in the sun, fermented, roasted,[…]Read More
Here’s some recent stills shot for the Millennium Challenge Corporation on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. These showcase the organization’s triumphs in strengthening the nation’s cocoa value chain through the Green Prosperity Project. Various scenery from the island shot from a plane, boat and/or airport is also included.Read More
Oh honey, where is thy sting? I shot these in Cerro Negro for fair trade financier Shared Interest.Read More
On my whirlwind five-day trip to Uganda last month I managed to cover a lot of ground in both the east and west of the country. Squeezed between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, Uganda may look like a dwarf on the map, but it’s actually more than double the size of my home state of Virginia. Combining that with some poor road conditions means it can take 12 hours or more to get from one side to the other. Bukonzo Organic Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union (BOCU) is a fair trade coffee producer based in the town of Kasese, Uganda. Its coffee farmers, however, grow their crop in the nearby Rwenzori Mountains. Shared Interest invests in BOCU and other fair trade producers around the globe. The Rwenzori Mountains were known to the ancient world as the Mountains of Moon for their snow-capped white peaks. (Sadly there’s little of these[…]Read More
After years of foreign aid pouring into the East African country of Rwanda following its 1994 civil war and genocide, its citizens are used to receiving help from those on the outside. Those tables could finally be turning, however. Recently I documented the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, a program wherein food aid for Africa is bought, not from a farmer in Iowa or Australia and shipped thousands of miles to its destination, but from right here in Africa. Rwanda is home to some 55,000 refugees, most of whom are sheltering from ongoing turmoil in the Democratic Republic of Congo, its neighbor to the west. Most of these refugees are landless and unable to provide for themselves and their families. Consequently they’re reliant on food aid. Above, children race a homemade scooter through the streets of Kaziba refugee camp along the shores of Lake Kivu[…]Read More
I’ve recently been impressed with the work of the agricultural NGO One Acre Fund. While on assignment in Kenya for business magazine “FIVE,” I documented the organization’s work with small farmers. These farmers usually cultivate no more than approximately one acre of land and therefore are usually the most in need. While OAF works in both Kenya and Rwanda, these photographs are from western Kenya’s Webuye district. Why is One Acre Fund featured in a business magazine? Its model differs from that of most non-profit organizations. Instead of handing out improved fertilizers and seeds, farmers are given loans for these things and organize in groups under the supervision of a extension worker to learn how to use them. The groups then bring their harvests together at the end of the season when One Acre Fund acts as a bulk selling agent, thus commanding higher prices for the farmers. In 2009,[…]Read More