GLOBAL FARMERS MARKET - Making CSV work for marginalised subsistence communities

By creating shared value, we connect rural small-scale farmers in Mozambique directly to their customers in premium export markets.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher
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Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Global Farmers Market

Year founded

2013

Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 250 - 500

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Headquarters location: Country

  • Mozambique

Headquarters location: City

Nkholongue, Lago District, Niassa Province, Mozambique

Location(s) of impact

Mozambique: Rural communities in the coastal region on Lake Niassa

Website

www.globalfarmersmarket.org

Facebook URL

www.facebook.com/globalfarmersmarket/

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The people in Mozambique's rural region along Lake Niassa are extremely poor and their lives are marked by hardship. Their valuable resources in the form of abundant tropical fruit cannot generate income, as there is no access to markets. Costs to create such access seem prohibitive: the fruit need to be sourced from many smallholders in isolated villages, processed locally and transported over long distances. As a result, most of the fruit, particularly mangoes, rot under the trees and people remain trapped in poverty.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Our CSV approach valorises our direct sourcing from rural smallholders and achieves premium prices in European markets which more than cover the high costs. Each of our own-brand dried fruit packets honours one of our growers with her/his face and name - prominently, front and center. Consumers in Europe are invited to send us a selfie with a packet; we print the photos off and and hand them to the growers. This simple, yet meaningful human connection creates joy for all. As a result, our customers are willing to pay more than double the price of other comparable products. After successfully testing this CSV approach in an artisanal pilot project, we built a professional fruit processing and packaging facility right amongst the communities. We have certified 250 growers in 7 communities as organic producers. Selling to us, they earn 4 times the local market price. The concept has proven to be financially viable. It is scalable and applicable in a range of similar contexts.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We bring much-needed income to some of the poorest of the rural poor in Mozambique. 250 growers and 60 seasonal factory workers now earn an income to support their families. In 2016, we paid a total of 40k USD directly to people in the local communities. The impact on people's lives is dramatic. They can now afford basic necessities such as plastic sheets to waterproof their roofs, mattresses and blankets to keep warm at night or food when their own reserves run out. Parents can bear the costs of schooling their children and young people save up for high school exam fees. The organic certification of 250 smallholders has consolidated environmentally sound practices for the whole region. Our seedling distribution programme will contribute to reforestation: our nursery currently houses 10,000 mango plants for growers to increase their harvest. Lastly, we take a holistic view of shared value. Our inclusive concept transmits to our growers a sense of joy, pride and worthiness.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Total capital investment of USD 400k was entirely borne by the founders' own equity except for a grant contribution of USD 80k by USAID. Operating expenses are covered by earned income. Exceptional sales prices ensure financial sustainability. To consolidate the operation, further investments of USD 200k are required. New capital assets will maximise facility capacity, extend the production season and reduce operational risks. Investment in our outgrower network and seedling distribution will increase the number of suppliers and diversify their fruit production. This will multiply our local impact and open up opportunities for replication.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Our approach to CSV is unique. By honouring our small-scale producers on our products and allowing consumers to express their appreciation to them, we achieve the price premiums needed to source from them in the first place. We don't know of any other initiative that creates shared value in this way. That is why we succeed where conventional commercial and development models fail: in bringing inclusive and sustainable economic opportunities to some of the most isolated rural communities.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Global Farmers Market's founder Jonathan first visited the villages on Lake Niassa in 2007 to work with his family in setting up an eco-tourism lodge. When he saw the huge discrepancy between people's natural resources in the form of abundant tropical fruit and their deep poverty, he knew he would one day return to help them realise their potential. In June 2013, he quit his banking job in London to go and build a small fruit drying facility in the community of Nkholongue. One day when he was chatting with the local women who had brought their mangoes to sell, it struck him how special and valuable that human connection was. It was suddenly obvious that consumers in Europe would love to experience that, and that GFM's dried fruit would bring people together, bridging the gap between two worlds.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

Evaluation results

21 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 61.9%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 28.6%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 4.8%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 4.8%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

2. Innovation

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 66.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 19%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Social and/or Environmental Impact

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 72.2%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 16.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 11.1%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

4. Financial sustainability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 80%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 40%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

5. Potential to Scale / Replicability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 60%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 20%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 15%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 5%

6. Organizational Leadership

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 57.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 4.8%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 4.8%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

7. Potential for Creating Shared Value

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 66.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 28.6%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 4.8%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

69 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Sebastian Gatica

Keep up the good work there! Hope we can set up an initiative like your in Chile

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Sebastian. Absolutely, it would be great to replicate our model in Chile. Maybe we can team up for that at some point!

Photo of Tom Phillips

What a great business model and fantastic example of shared value. You've cut out all the middle men and developed a great brand. That means more value captured by the business and therefore more value to share with your producers and employees. I hope you get all the support you need to scale up!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Tom, really appreciate your support and encouragement!

Photo of Chloe Whitley

Creating shared value clearly underscores the very essence of this initiative: it's inspiring to see how Global Farmers Market has made such an impact upon the communities where it works, whilst mutually benefiting the growth of the business: all in such a short period of time. The story is so compelling - this really should go down as a textbook example of CSV...

THIS is the future of international development!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Chloe, much appreciated!

Photo of Shivangi

Inspiring project

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Shivangi.

Photo of Bruna Tombolatto

Great project! I wish you all the best!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Bruna, thank you so much, really appreciated! :)

Photo of Léopold Duchâteau

Inspiring project!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you so much Leopold, glad you like our work!

Photo of Thomas Hrms

Such a grant project I love it

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thanks Thomas, that's wonderful!

Photo of Aisyah Ibrahim

Your project seems exciting. I wish you all the best through it! Let me know of what you are thinking on my project as well. Thanks

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Hi Aisyah, thank you for your comment, I'm glad you like our project! I see that you are doing some great work too with Hospitals Beyond Boundaries. Congratulations and all the best!

Photo of Khush Patel

Jonathan Litscher It's great to see this evolving! Best of luck.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Khush, much appreciate your support!

Photo of Saskia Pfurtscheller

Building bridges between Africa and Europe, what an amazing project!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you for the encouragement Saskia!

Photo of Le Yves

Wow!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Cheers Le Yves! :)

Photo of Alice Hawkes

Amazing project, and amazing mangos!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thanks Alice, glad you like them! :)

Photo of Jon Beloe

Fabulous idea with a huge potential for impact.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Jon, much appreciated!

Photo of OrlieSo CstSx

Great job!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thanks OrlieSo! :)

Photo of Michelle Berkowitz Sultan

Jonathan Litscher congratulations on your enterprise! It's inspiring to read about your efforts to support rural smallholders. Would love to learn more about your processing facility and the steps required to convert fruits into higher-value commodities. At La Botica Verde, we've decided to focus on providing local markets with raw foods produced by rural smallholders. Would be interested to hear more about your choice to move forward in supplying international markets with processed goods and how you've managed to overcome the certification, quality, and consistency issues. Perhaps we could connect some time over Skype? Our email is boticaverdegt@gmail.com. Looking forward to it!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you for the comment Michelle! I would very much like to hear more about your project too and compare notes. We are tackling very similar issues with quite different approaches, and I'm sure there are opportunities to learn from each other! I'll reach out to you by email.

Photo of Mirana Francoise Razafindramboa

Keep up the great work Jonathan! Keep up posted if you plan to expand in the Southern region such as in Madagascar. We can discuss about any possibility of partnership. Best of luck for the competition!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Hi Mirena, thanks a lot for the encouragement, and your offer to partner with us if an opportunity presents itself! I will definitely bear that in mind and keep following your project. Hopefully we can collaborate at some point!

Photo of Marco A. Blanco

This is a wonderful initiative! I liked how many of the local, small-share holder are women, but more importantly how this work contributes to their self-confidence and pride in their work! The photo exchange between European customers with the rural farmers from Mozambique bestows a sense of a personal connection and creates a more global community. Just out of curiosity, I was wondering if you have an estimate of future beneficiaries you'd be able to reach with the additional $200K you're seeking? Keep up the great work! One of the best applications I've seen!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Hi Marco, I'm so pleased you like our concept of connecting farmers and consumers. Thank you for your kind words.
The funds we are seeking will finance our expansion project over the coming two years, which we are currently preparing. We will increase the number of beneficiaries from 250 to 1000 families and prepare the ground for continued growth in the future.
Thanks again and best of luck for your own project!

Photo of Marco A. Blanco

Excellent, Jonathan! Thanks for responding to my question in such a timely fashion. I'm very pleased to hear that your expansion will affect 4x the amount of beneficiaries. Great job, and keep up the good work!

Photo of Samir Vinchurkar

This is Awesome (kung fu panda style)!
Connecting farmers with the end users for farm produce is heartening and creates a special bond which can go a long way. This not only justifies "we are what we eat", but adds to it that we become
"what we give back". Good to see the number of families it has affected by improving their livelihood and giving them a sense of content within their circle of life. I would love to volunteer for you :-)
Best wishes with everything to all of you,
Samir Vinchurkar

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Hi Samir, thank you so much for the encouragement. Maybe if you come and volunteer for us, I can go and volunteer with your amazing project at the same time! :)
All the best to you too

Photo of Fabian

It‘s so good to see that there are still people out there with the courage and energy to create such an amazing and sustainable project!
keep it up!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Fabian, thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a lot to us all!

Photo of Raphael

Excellent sustainable concept! I like the way how the farmers and the whole region can profit from this project. Congratulations what Global Farmers Market already reached and all the best for the future!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Raphael, really appreciate your encouragement!

Photo of Thomas Wehinger

Great project. I love the approach Jonathan took in tracking the product back to the farmers.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thanks Thomas, glad you like our concept!

Photo of Ramy Elmery

Great approach Jonathan. Very creative as in hitting Two Birds with one stone. Best Of Luck with your initiative.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Ramy, appreciate your encouragement!

Photo of Anjan Mukherjee

Excellent idea. This wastage due to lack of storage facilities is criminal. And if thus can raise the entire community what could be better.
All the best for the competition

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thanks Anjan. We really saw tragic amounts of waste - hundreds of tons of mangoes rotting on the ground in the villages. We're making steady progress towards improving that situation in the region.

Photo of Leontien Homulle

This is really an amazing project with lots of growth potential. It is a perfect example of changing people's life by giving them dignity, new opportunities and skills, creating a healthier and better community by sharing their resources , that they profit from it in a way they couldn't have done themselves. A real win win. I am amazed what Jonathan has achieved so far and love to see where this goes in the future.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Dear Leontien, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. It's wonderful to hear you are inspired by our project!

Photo of Ueli Litscher

I've personally visited the production site of Global Farmers Market and was extremely impressed by all aspects of the business: its genuine interest in generating sustainable impact for local farmers, the infrastructure built and operations and logistics systems implemented, the unique proposition of honoring farmers and enabling customers to link up with them and of course the very high quality of the final product. Having worked in international development for many years, it is rare to find initiatives like this that are truly improving lives in a sustainable and scaleable way.

Photo of Marina Eaton

The most wonderful social entreprise we know! After being part of it for some months, following the first season of producing dried mangoes and finally buying and tasting the mangoes repeatedly in Switzerland - I can only say, that the whole project is incredible! We both can support it with our whole heart. Frank and Marina

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Marina, I'm really happy to see you are still following our work! Thank you for the kind words, it's wonderful to feel your passion for our project.

Photo of Alexander Hazen

A unique example of true shared value, with a fine but essential balance between community engagement, development potential and financial sustainability. The concept can become a model for successful shared value solutions in many more regions, with the potential of positively impacting thousands of people's lives. On top of that, Jonathan's sincere passion for sustainable development, sheer determination and business acumen make him one of the most inspiring social entrepreneurs I have ever met!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Alex, thank you so much for the wonderful feedback and encouragement. It means a lot to me, especially coming from you given your own experience and great passion for social enterprise!

Photo of Janka Reke

I found this to be an amazing initiative and I hope that your impact will grow even further! Good Luck! :)

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you Janka for the kind words! :)

Photo of Ollie

After my onsite visit in Mosambik I am truly convinced that the GFM concept is the new state of the art for sustainable business driven development work! The project does not only support the local farmers financially, but also emotionally. With their faces on the packages, their pride for the products goes around the world and back. Conratulations GFM!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you so much Ollie. We really do feel that the pride and sense of self-worth our farmers get from working with us is perhaps as important as the material benefits.
Hope to welcome you in Mozambique again sometime, you would see a lot of great change since your last visit!

Photo of Matthias Gerber

I'm deeply impressed with what Jonathan created with Global Farmers Market. A fundamentally sustainable company that generates value for an entire region in all respects. Congratulations on what has been achieved so far and I wish him and Global Farmers Market all the courage, ambition, perseverance, persistence and passion on his way forward.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Dear Matthias, thank you for your kind words. It's great to get such positive feedback on our work, a real boost of energy! :)

Photo of Ellinor Jensrud

What a great way to link farmers to markets, while sharing stories to connect people from both ends of the supply chain. Hope you continue to increase your scale and impact, and create more shared value!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you very much Ellinor! We very much want to continue growing and involve ever more farmers. It makes a big difference to them so worth the effort!

Photo of Erica Layer

This is one of the most promising social enterprises I have seen. After visiting the facilities in Mozambique and having purchased dried mangoes in Switzerland, I see the real potential for growth and sustainability which will meaningfully improve lives of the poor. Best of luck Jonathan and team!

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Thank you so much for the feedback and encouragement Erica, much appreciated! :)

Photo of Jann Janndinsky

Hi Jonathan
Tolle Sache! Macht weiter so! Muss ich doch gleich wieder einmal ein paar Mangos bei euch bestellen.
Gruss Jann

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Herzlichen Dank Jann für die Unterstützung! Die Mangos gehen noch heute raus zu dir :)

Photo of Mona Lisa Karene

Hi Jonathan
The connection between farmer and customer is a clever idea that suits today's markets. Awesome! :)
Back in 2015, we started profiling each of our farmers on our website but it is not as personal as the farmer's photo on the product. It is that detail that makes the difference to sales.
Will you continue to do this as you scale up?

Mona Lisa Karene.

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Hi Mona Lisa,
Thank you for the kind message, great that you like our concept. Yes, we absolutely want to maintain the connection between producers and consumers as we scale up, that's what our work is all about.
I also had a look at the work you are doing in the Pacific Islands with Nora's Plantation Foods and it looks like a great project. Congratulations and all the best!
Jonathan

Photo of Mona Lisa Karene

Thank you for the kind message about Nora's Plantation Foods. And great to hear you will continue to connect producer with consumer. Fantastic :)