Formed in 2007, Liberation Foods CIC has been smallholder farmer owned and a community interest company from the outset. Our mission has always been to solely trade with the communities that do the majority of the hard work in growing the high quality products we are proud to sell. It makes total sense that they have a prominent voice in the direction and decision-making of the company.
The International Nut Cooperative (INC), also formed in 2007 by 5 smallholder farmer and gatherer Associations, has been a shareholder of Liberation from its beginning. The profound and enduring relationship with them most recently withstood the test of the global pandemic last year. Tomy Mathews, INC member and valued colleague said of the alliance
“if there had been more relationships like the one between FTAK (Fairtrade Alliance Kerala) and Liberation, farmers´ futures may have been saved”.
We, in turn, have benefited greatly from the skills, resilience, hard work and dedication of the INC members. It is no exaggeration to say that in the last decade and a half we have been on an interesting journey of development, discovery and relationship building with numerous farming cooperatives across the world.
It was with great celebration and fanfare that, aptly in the midst of Fairtrade Fortnight 2021, the International Nut Cooperative bought further shares in the company making Liberation more than 51% farmer owned, .
What does this mean?
It means that farmers will now have an even more powerful voice in the shaping of their company. Their participation will be transformative for future initiatives and the work between producers, sellers and buyers will be even more collaborative. We are edging closer to a business model that demonstrates true equality throughout the value chain. It is a model that we believe should be replicated throughout the food industry: buying food from farmer owned businesses.
Liberation’s MD, Dan Binks, explained: “We are really excited about this announcement; we are taking the significant next steps on our journey of having a fully integrated, ethical and sustainable value chain that shares the values of the community and the smallholder farmer co-operatives, that now form the majority share of Liberation.”
Juan Bravo, President of the INC, said “it is a great victory that has cost lots of work, lots of time, lots of effort and lots of people and it was worth it to celebrate that we are in this position now.”
Afterall, the success of Liberation is wholly dependent on the success of the farming co-operatives.