Rikolto supported our partner cooperatives to continue their work in the safest way possible: at least 8,200 collaborators in our programmes have received personal protective equipment globally and 2,432 have been trained in biosafety protocols, mostly in Peru and Ecuador. They also wanted to make sure consumers knew they were taking care of their food supply in a safe way, or inform consumers about good hygiene measures in urban markets. Through communications campaigns on Covid and food through social media, road shows and radio jingles in Tanzania, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua, an estimated 4.64 million citizens were reached between March and October.
As restaurants, institutional kitchens and markets were forced to close, and sometimes even the transportation of crops was restricted, farmers suddenly saw demand drop and incomes decline. As such, Covid highlighted the urgent need for farming families to diversify their incomes. In our coffee and cocoa programmes, we have been focusing on dynamic agroforestry systems for a while. These systems involve combining cocoa or coffee with other staple crops, like bananas, cassava, corn, tomatoes, chilies, oranges and other fruits. They are more resilient to environmental shocks, as we’ve seen with diversified cocoa farms in Nicaragua after hurricanes Iota and Eta swept through the country. And they also make farming families more resilient to the crisis we are currently facing, as they diversify their income and nutrition.