Del Campo Co-operative

Del Campo sesame production, Nicaragua

Del Campo sesame production, Nicaragua

Del Campo is a farmer-owned co-operative that exports agricultural products to the world market. Small-scale farmers often grow sesame as a cash crop, but face economic and technical barriers to improve their returns. The high quality sesame contained within our Tahini is grown by small-scale farmers on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.

Del Campo represents 3500 small and medium sized Nicaraguan farmers who grow more than 1500 tons of sesame seed annually, and are the largest exporter of sesame in Nicaragua. They export fairly traded products where transparent benefits to small farmers are guaranteed.

Investing Wisely

Having found a regular, fair market which has enabled Del Campo to establish a steady income, the co-op members strive to bring the benefits to the local community.

A Credit Union has been set up which allows peasant farmers with no access to bank loans to invest in farming equipment like water pumps.

Training courses are also run to teach local farmers better ways of growing their crops. This may include: how to create terraces, using organic fertiliser or how to conserve soil. A community shop has also been created supplying staple foods at low prices.

In a country where the average Nicaraguan only eats half of what is necessary to complete the required three daily meals, the community shop enables them to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at low prices. In turn, enabling them to eat a healthier balanced diet.

They have built a natural health clinic using local plants to treat 200 patients a month at a price they could afford. A model farm has also been set up to employ local people at £1.50 per day, rather than the usual £1.

We want a better world, a more just society, where we can share in a more just way. We want a market where we can consume a product that’s really fair – fair for the producer and consumer
Juan Bravo Reyes

After the Hurricane

In the wake of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 Del Campo was able to meet all its commitments, despite severe crop losses ranging from 50% to 100%. Many members were devastated by loss of family, livestock and fertile land which were swept away or buried in the sand. By assisting the worst affected farmers through a project which financed 800 hectares of sesame production, Del Campo enabled over 250 families to return to work. It continues to pioneer new organic products for export and today remains one of the largest exporters of certified organic products in Nicaragua.

In a land prone to natural disasters, high illiteracy, unemployment and where women are marginalised (80% of women don’t have access to credit) Equal Exchange are helping to support Del Campo and empower their communities through trade development.