Agriculture is in Martha Carolina Poveda’s blood. She comes from a farming family and grew up on a homestead in Nicaragua. Martha now works as a Quality Manager in the Del Campo cooperative – where Liberation sources most its peanuts.
The Quality Manager’s role is to check produce before its exported. However, Martha also develops policies and procedures for factory workers. In addition, she manages certifications – she follows strict protocol to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Del Campo really values Martha and the rest of the quality team. Their rigorous work means international customers, like us, are confident in what they buy. Farmers get paid a higher price from the Fairtrade certification. and receive a premium for community development projects.
Nicaragua’s economy is driven by agriculture – it’s the only source of income for many people in rural communities. Luckily, Martha has a comprehensive understanding of cultivation. Her childhood farm was a mix of livestock and crops such as cassava and maize. Her background means she can relate to the farmers that grow the peanuts.
Martha’s experience living on a farm as a child gave her a strong connection to the land, food and the environment. She has always had a passion for cooking which was sparked from helping out in the kitchen at a young age. Because of this, she always imagined she would work with food in some way.
Education is important in Martha’s family – her mother was a teacher on the family farm. Her parents encouraged her to work hard which enabled her to go to university to study food engineering. She was introduced to Del Campo through a work experience placement from university.
Martha was offered an opportunity to return to Del Campo to work in the quality team after graduating. She had struggled to find a job and was thrilled to be offered the position.
The culture in Nicaragua is dominated by men. Therefore, it’s unusual for women to work in leadership positions, especially in agriculture. However, Del Campo is inclusive and forward thinking. The team recognised Martha’s hard work and talent so offered her a job.
Martha likes the unity between the farmers at Del Campo. She believes the coop gives people “more opportunities for a better life”. Del Campo offers farmers support, “regardless of the political and economic situation in Nicaragua.”
Martha has had opportunities at Del Campo that may not have been possible for other woman. She said that “The influence of my parents and their farm helped me to decide that I wanted to work with food.” Martha is young and following her dreams while demonstrating to other women it’s possible to work in leadership positions. However, her experience has made her more ambitious – her dream is to have her own small food business.
Nuts from Del Campo are in every packet of Liberation nuts and every jar of Liberation peanut butter. When the nuts are harvested, they are processed, quality checked and transported. It’s a long process and it’s hard work! Every step of the journey includes someone’s time and labour – so it makes sense that everyone along the journey is paid fairly.