Annual Report 2022

Sowing the seeds for sustainable food systems

A woman voicing her opinion in a cooperative meeting

2022 marked the start of our new programme cycle.

Inclusive business is at the core of everything we do. We promote long-term business relationships fulfilling farmers' and buyers' needs alike. We ensure the sustainability of our actions through a holistic sustainable food systems approach facilitating collective action with all food system actors.

The majority of our work is structured around three global programmes: our Sustainable Rice, Sustainable Cocoa and Coffee, and Good Food for Cities programmes. We are also involved in some food system initiatives that do not directly align with these three global programmes.

As of 2022, we focus on three pillars: sustainable production, market inclusion and an enabling environment. Regenerative agricultural practices are integrated within each of these three pillars. We also pay special attention to the empowerment of women and young people in every aspect of our work.

In this video, our Executive Director Chris Claes tells you more about the approach we embarked on in 2022.

Continue reading to explore the summary of our 2022 achievements, or dive straight into our full 2022 Annual Report.

farmers got a better deal

32.2% are women, 21.6% are young farmers under 35 years. They improved their resilience as a result of better access to services and inclusive trade relationships. We supported 235 farmer organisations, farmer cooperatives and farmer groups in their business development, so they are able to market the products of their members in a professional way, leading to stable incomes for farmers and more sustainable food for consumers.

consumers improved access to food

Rikolto does not only work for a sustainable income for farmers, but also for nutritious, affordable food for all. This figure includes the approximate numbers of citizens who have access to healthy sustainable and nutritious food (vegetables, fruits, rice) through our interventions and the number of cocoa and coffee farmers who produce food crops besides cocoa and coffee, as part of our income diversification strategies.


98% of these are buyers for domestic or international markets; yet there are also some processors, schools and public institutions, distribution platforms, service providers and financial institutions. Together, we create innovative ways of accessing, distributing and producing nutritious, quality food, so no one is left behind.


As a result of our support to multi-stakeholder platforms, 28 new initiatives emerged in 2022. Inspiring others to tackle the inter-related challenges of food insecurity, climate change and economic inequality is a crucial part of our strategy to contribute to an enabling environment for sustainable food systems.

Our Good Food for Cities programme

With global food consumption, markets and decision-making centres concentrated in urban areas, cities play a fundamental role in sparking a shift towards more sustainable food systems. They are laboratories to test new ideas, models and collaborations. Our Good Food for Cities programme approaches urban food systems through a systems-thinking lens. We strive to build interconnections between actors and to foster collective action mechanisms and inclusive business relationships through participatory and inclusive food governance structures. We try to understand how different areas are connected to each other and to identify levers for systems change that help us to navigate difficult trade-offs, such as how to improve access to affordable healthy food, while incentivising farmers and food chain workers to adopt more sustainable practices.

Farmers reached per country

Explore some of the highlights of our Good Food for Cities programme in 2022.

Bau market in Vietnam

Multi-stakeholder collaboration to tackle food safety and traceability in traditional markets: the case of the Bau wet market

Traditional wet markets play an important role in Vietnam’s food systems. To ensure access to safe, healthy and nutritious food for urban consumers, Rikolto started working with the Department of Agro-Forestry and Fisheries Quality Assurance of Ha Nam province (DAFIQA). We promote collaboration between producers, distributors, consumers and related government agencies at Bau market. The approach has already been shared and adopted by two other provinces.

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European teacher exchange

Making GoodFood@School the norm in Belgium and throughout Europe

Rikolto aims to make healthy and sustainable nutrition policies the norm in Flemish schools and beyond. In such an integrated policy, schools not only make healthy and sustainable food available, they also educate children about healthy and sustainable food, and about their own role in the global food system. With the city of Leuven, we launched a project call to support schools in developing good food policies. Based on six pilots in Leuven, we now aim to upscale good practices and lessons learnt, among others through a toolkit for schools and the European SchoolFood4Change project.

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Our Sustainable Rice programme

Rice is a complex crop. It is a staple food for almost half of the world's population, and a key crop in the fight against food insecurity. It is sensitive to climate variability whilst also having a huge environmental footprint. And it is a politically sensitive crop: on the one hand, governments call for low prices for consumers, while on the other hand, a “good” price needs to be ensured for producers. In between lie the interests of all other actors. At Rikolto, we apply a systems approach to contribute to the transformation of the rice sector. We work towards decent incomes and working conditions for all actors in the rice sector, a reduced environmental impact of rice and safe, healthy, quality rice for consumers. To do so, we promote the dissemination of sustainable practices following the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standard for Rice Cultivation among all value chain actors, and we facilitate the development of inclusive business relationships between them on domestic and regional markets. The collective action of a wide range of food system stakeholders is a powerful vehicle for orienting the development of the entire sector. It steers the development of an enabling environment where best initiatives spread and innovation flourishes.

Farmers reached per country

Explore some of the highlights of our Sustainable Rice programme in 2022.

Nyange Nyange rice on display

Nyange Nyange: a local label that facilitates market access for Congolese rice farmers

Rice is one of the most consumed staple foods in the DRC, yet dependency on rice imports is huge. Improving the competitiveness of rice grown by smallholder cooperatives in South Kivu requires implementing a quality improvement strategy first, followed by a consumer communication strategy. This led to the idea of creating an independent label for local quality rice: Nyange Nyange. It’s a first step to reduce the fragility of food systems that depend on imports. The next steps? Ensuring the sustainability of the label and replicating the model in other provinces.

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Rice farmer in Benin

An agroecological transition in Benin: rice farmers move towards more sustainable practices following the SRP Standard

Benin’s agricultural sector is marked by serious disruptions due to climate change and environmental degradation. To cope with these challenges, specifically in the rice sector, Rikolto is promoting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) following the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standard to assess the prevalent rice growing practices. In 33 communities, we are promoting GAP following the SRP standard, to support farmers in transitioning to agroecological practices. So far, this has shown to lead to a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, a decrease in the production cost/selling price ratio and an increase in producers’ incomes.

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Our Sustainable Cocoa and Coffee programme

Living incomes for farmers are essential for truly resilient cocoa and coffee farming communities. This requires guaranteed minimum prices, good agricultural practices, income diversification strategies and a strong enabling environment. We have moved beyond a value chain approach to a food systems approach, looking not only at cocoa and coffee, but also to the farming systems in which they are grown. We partner with cooperatives, private companies, financial institutions, government actors and other development organisations to reach sustainable local food systems that enable cocoa and coffee communities to thrive.

Farmers reached per country

Explore some of the highlights of our Sustainable Cocoa and Coffee programme in 2022.

Meeting of multistakeholder group SICACAO

Transforming cocoa and coffee in Latin America: the sustainable impact of multi-stakeholder partnerships

Over the past five years, we have strengthened multi-stakeholder platforms on cocoa and coffee in Latin America. These take various forms, such as national or regional platforms and working groups to promote dialogue among different stakeholders. We have facilitated conversations and promoted actionable solutions, around gender in Honduras’ coffee sector, cocoa in Central America and coffee in Peru’s Cajamarca region. Read how these three platforms are now key players in boosting the sustainability of cocoa and coffee sectors.

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Women in Indonesia managing her coffee farm

Not your average coffee: innovation and sustainable practices for high-quality Kerinci Specialty Coffee

One of the major challenges coffee farmers face is the lack of knowledge and understanding of sustainable practices. This can lead to lower-quality coffee, decreased yields, and higher production costs.  Rikolto has supported the Koerintji Barokah Bersama Cooperative in creating high-quality Kerinci Specialty Coffee and providing a living income for its members since 2017. The cooperative has made impressive achievements in consistently producing award-winning coffee. Through sustainable cultivation and creative processing techniques, the cooperative continues to create unique flavour profiles. Close partnerships with buyers and government actors further drive innovation, and turn KBBC’s story into a thriving model that can inspire other cooperatives.

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working in partnerships: superlist presentation


Complex food system problems require complex solutions. That is why, at Rikolto, creating strong partnerships is in our DNA.
Who are our partners, donors, investors?
What is our approach to partnerships?

Our partners

We closely work with cooperatives, civil society organisations, private companies, commodity platforms, government institutions, business service providers, research institutes, knowledge networks and many other food system actors.

Who are the partners we collaborate with?

In 2022, Rikolto financially supported 156 organisations in 18 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, compared to 144 the previous year. 56% of these are farmers’ organisations, compared to 62% in 2021. Apart from farmer organisations, we also closely work with – and sometimes financially support – local NGOs, commodity platforms, different national and sub-national government institutions, business service providers and/or research institutes.

overview of partnerships

What is our approach to partnerships?

Engaging in the right collaborations leads us to higher impact and allows us to work on a broader scale. In this playing field, intensive dialogues with a very diverse range of actors allow us to stay in tune with what's happening in the world today. Rikolto’s role in these partnerships is also diverse: from actively contributing evidence from our work on the ground to networks and learning alliances, over facilitating dialogue between different food system actors to bring their interests closer together, to promoting scaling of successful practices and influencing agendas in favour of sustainable and inclusive food systems.

partnerships good food for cities

In 2022, our Good Food for Cities global programme director Charlotte Flechet, was part of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) of the Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Programme of the One Planet Network. The Programme is a global multi-stakeholder platform of government agencies, civil society organisations, scientific and technical organisations, UN agencies and inter-governmental organisations, and private sector, that aim to collectively accelerate the shift towards more sustainable food systems around the world, including by building synergies and strengthening collaborations among diverse partners. We provide technical and strategic advice for defining and implementing the programme, and advocate for the transformation of global food systems, highlighting the work of the SFS Programme partners.

In 2022, we also had close partnership relations with UNEP and FAO for whom we carried out several assignments), local governments, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and academic institutions. These collaborations materialised in our participation in 2 newly approved Horizon Europe projects: AfriFOODLinks (transforming Africa’s Urban Food Environments through strengthening linkages between food system stakeholders in cities across Europe and Africa) and CANALLS (Driving agroecological transitions in Central and Eastern Africa through transdisciplinary Agroecology Living Labs).

partnerships rice

In 2022, we have intensified our partnerships for carbon markets financing in our Sustainable Rice Programme, by piloting activities to reduce methane emissions through an improved water management system. Carbon credits are an excellent way to leverage private funding to finance these activities and at the same time offer financial incentives for farmers. In the Australian funded Business Partnerships Platform pilot project in Vietnam, Rikolto collaborates with the French start-up CarbonFarm, developing an innovative way to measure rice emissions via satellites. The project also involves partnering with existing local networks such as cooperatives, agribusinesses, and NGOs to reach out to and train rice farmers, and with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that helps to navigate the carbon certification process.

Also, to reduce GHG emissions of rice production in Vietnam while maintaining profitability and contributing positively to rice farming resilience, Rikolto has engaged in discussions with the Livelihoods Venture, that is considering a potential investment into a Low-Carbon and Sustainable Rice (LCSR) production project in the Mekong River Delta region of Vietnam. To transform the current rice cultivation practices in the Mekong River Delta region of Vietnam into Low-Carbon Sustainable Rice production and in view of upscaling impact, Livelihoods Venture ordered in 2022 a pre-feasibility study to assess the value of expanding Rikolto’s ongoing efforts in Vietnam with regards to Sustainable Rice Production (SRP) and Alternative Wetting and Drying (AWD).

partnerships cocoa & coffee

Since its launch in 2018, Rikolto has been a signatory and an active partner in the Beyond Chocolate partnership. The key purpose of Beyond Chocolate is to make long-lasting improvements to the living conditions of cocoa farmers and their families in the cocoa-growing regions that are important for the Belgian chocolate sector. Together with the Colruyt Group, Fairtrade Belgium and the chocolate processor Puratos, Rikolto is currently implementing a Beyond Chocolate project in Ivory Coast aiming for a living income for the producers to go hand in hand with the conservation and restoration of forests. Cooperation between this diverse set of partners is crucial to the success of the project. Each partner in the consortium brings critical perspectives and experiences to the table to put this integrated approach into practice. Facilitating the relationships between the cocoa sector stakeholders and creating the opportunity for the private companies to translate their sustainability and social commitments into action, is Rikolto’s strength. Lessons from the Ivory Coast project and similar successful experiences (for example with Lidl, Olam, Sucden, ECOm, Touton, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, etc…) are shared with the Living Income Community of Practice and with Beyond Chocolate co-signers because in the end we want to contribute to a sector-wide commitment.

In the same framework of striving for a sustainable cocoa sector, Rikolto is also a member of the VOICE Network, a global network of NGOs and Trade Unions that – amongst other research and advocacy activities – assesses the sustainable performance of the cocoa sector by publishing the bi-annual Cocoa Barometer.

Who are our donors?

We can count on the support of a wide range of donors, from governments to multilateral organisations, foundations and companies.

we are grateful to all our donors

We can also count on the support of a loyal base of private donors in Belgium, which we are continuing to build. In 2022, we raised a total of €1,642,697 of private funding for the Rikolto network, compared to €1,876,356 in 2021. Our annual campaign, sportive events, structural gifts, collaborations with companies and city governments and bequests all contributed to this.

People and Organisation

At Rikolto, we are proud to interconnect more than 200 people and 21 different nationalities worldwide. 50% of our staff works in Africa.

Farmers reached per country

There is a pretty good global balance between men and women (55%-45%), although this is mainly due to a prevalence of female staff in Southeast Asia and Europe. Also for women in leadership we aim to have a 50/50 distribution soon.

We have a mix of younger and more experienced staff with 3 out of 10 colleagues under age 35.

In general, there is a small increase in staff in 2022 due to the start of a new programme cycle in that year. Only in Southeast Asia the total number of staff has decreased, amongst others due to the creation of one regional management team.

financial report 2022

Financial report

Gain an insight into the revenues and expenses in 2022 of the three entities that together form Rikolto: Rikolto International, Rikolto in Belgium and Rikolto Consult.

This report covers the financial activities of three entities: the Belgian Public Interest Foundation Rikolto International s.o.n., Rikolto Belgium v.z.w., and Rikolto Consult. Together, the three entities spent € 17,273,295 in 2022 and received € 17,062,795, resulting in a negative year balance of € 210,500.

financial overview 2022

Overview of our sources of funding and our investments in 2022.

overview expenses 2022

Overview of our expenses in 2022

  • The budget spent on programme operations in 2022 increased by 19% compared to 2021.
  • Our three global programmes – Sustainable Rice, Sustainable Cocoa and Coffee, and Good Food for Cities – are at the core of our work. 85% of our investments went to these three programmes. The remaining 15% was directed towards other initiatives related to the food system that are not directly aligned with our three global programmes.
overview income 2022

Income sources in 2022

  • In comparison to 2021, dependency on our primary donor, DGD, remained stable. Public Funding in Belgium makes up 48% of our total revenue.
  • Income from multilateral organisations, private fundraising, other sources of public funding, foundations, and NGOs increased.
  • Revenues received from Rikolto Consult decreased compared to 2021, and currently account for a small portion, i.e., 0.85%, of our total revenue.

Read the full 2022 Annual Report

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