My trip coincided with workshops on Quality, Supply Chain and Communication which were conducted by James, a Peruvian best described as an outreach project leader who was working with ‘our man in Bolivia’ Feliciano. The workshops were coordinated and organised by Twin & Liberation, Twin being one of our trading partners and shareholders in Liberation.
Brazil nut gatherers can spend weeks in the forest collecting the nuts, these are then carried by hand, motorbike or boat back to central collecting points before they are sent to processing plants before export, which is complex process making the supply chain, communication and transparency even more difficult than in a more conventional set up.
Brazil nut co-operatives have challenges like any business, such things as market and currency fluctuations, adverse weather conditions and the complexity of managing contract processors to shell and pack nuts at origin. The groups with whom Liberation work COINACAPA, ACEBA and Aire Muje supply good quality nuts, and we identified a need to help and support communication and information flows which affect the performance of the co-ops. Liberation has invested time and resources in re-opening communication channels and creating new ones to improve the ability of the co-op to survive, prosper and become a stronger trading partner over time.
Through training initiatives, the workshops we held demonstrated to the management and gatherers within the three Brazil nut co-operatives how the nuts they have gathered were packaged and bought in the UK, something many had never seen before. We also discussed with them the impact of the supply of other types of nuts, all of this was clear and importantly made relevant to their daily lives. For the gatherers, who have to spend weeks in an often dangerous and unpleasant environment in the forest, which I can now say from first-hand experience. Having helped to deliver some of the training and discussions with the management and gatherers the workshops I felt that we provided a powerful motivating factor. They now understand the reasons behind quality standards and why quality affects the price they get for their nuts, which encourages them to treat the nuts with respect.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO BOLIVIA? Tell us your story in the comments
National Nut Day, 22nd October 2015