As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, Oikocredit hosted a dinner on 11 February for the partners and peers attending Biofach, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food. This year Biofach attracted 2,348 exhibitors, representing 76 countries to discuss all things fair trade and organic.
Among those in attendance was Bernard Ornilla from Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Ltda (COCAFCAL), a coffee-producing cooperative in Honduras selling organic coffee on the national and international market. COCAFCAL is an Oikocredit partner, which received a loan for the renovation of farms and to assist its members who had been affected by coffee leaf rust. Ornilla commented on the relationship between COCAFCAL and Oikocredit by saying, “Without Oikocredit, COCAFCAL would not have grown so much. We could make our dreams come true to export directly to fair trade organizations. We are compatible with Oikocredit as we have the same values and we are counting on it for our development. I wish Oikocredit all the best in the future and I hope that they will continue for many more years.”
Also in attendance was Natalia Nequi, from Cooperativa Manduvira LTDA, an Oikocredit partner that produces organic sugar in Paraguay. Manduvirá creates access to markets for local farmers, so that they can receive fair prices for their produce. The loan from Oikocredit allowed its members, who are sugarcane growers, reapers and factory workers, to open an environmentally-friendly sugar refinery.
During the Biofach dinner, Nequi commented on how she hopes that Oikocredit will continue to give opportunities and support to producers and cooperatives so that they can develop themselves and grow. “Oikocredit is special because it gives many opportunities to develop, especially its relationship with producers and everyone in the process. As Oikocredit gave us the power to develop, I wish them a happy anniversary and good wishes for the future,” said Nequi.
Support from its partners like Ornilla and Nequi, reinforces the mission that Oikocredit set in 1975 to invest responsibly. By providing partners like COCAFCAL and Manduvira with funds to grow their businesses, Oikocredit makes an impact on the lives of many farming families. This guiding principle of empowering people will continue to remain at the heart of Oikocredit’s work.