Establishing inclusive trade relations is human work, as we concluded in the previous article of this series. Getting along well is great, but what matters in the end is business.
In order to be able to plan ahead, farmers must be able to count on a stable market that gives them some certainty about volumes and prices. That also helps to improve producers' incomes. For processors and supermarkets, a stable link with producers is important for a constant supply of safe, high-quality products at competitive prices.
Within the Colruyt Group and Rikolto chain projects, we therefore always go for a minimum collaboration period of 3 years. In practice, the commitment usually lasts longer. The longest cooperation with Colruyt coffee farmers and Efico dates back to 2004. The certainty about prices and volumes is a solid basis. Nevertheless, there are four main obstacles that can threaten a stable link between farmer and supermarket: a poorly functioning farmers' organisation, insufficient transparency, lack of added value or market conditions that change.