A new partnership between Direct Global/Direct Co-ops and the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) will enable co-ops and other small businesses worldwide to jointly purchase products, communicate, sell (retail and wholesale) and vote on co-op products and issues using an inter-cooperative platform that includes full ecommerce functionalities.
This partnership, formalized by an MOU on July 23, will support NCBA CLUSA’s mission to develop and advance cooperative enterprise around the world by enhancing the impact of its technical assistance and capacity-building activities—particularly those related to cooperatives’ commercialization, knowledge exchange and advocacy.
As part of the agreement, a pilot will be launched in Peru, starting with some of the farmer cooperatives NCBA CLUSA works with in that country. It will start with products such as coffee, cocoa and bananas and will expand to include other products such as grapes, asparagus, mangos, blueberries, giant white corn, quinoa and other Andean grains. The pilot will also seek to involve institutions such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Production so that more Peruvian organizations can benefit from the marketing platform.
Participation in the platform will be extended to other organizations interested in using it as sellers and/or buyers. While NCBA CLUSA will initially manage the Peru pilot, its management will ultimately be transferred to a forthcoming cooperative founded by interested users of the platform, including Peruvian cooperative apex organizations, which will use transaction fees to provide better and additional services to their member cooperatives. Upon the pilot’s success, NCBA CLUSA will work to expand the use of Direct Global/Direct Co-ops’ platform in other countries.
The platform will enable farmers to sell their products directly to US retail co-ops and small businesses through Direct Global/Direct Co-ops’ platform and global network, which includes the Commonwealth, China, the U.S.-Pacific Rim Chamber of Commerce and other partners. Through this collaboration, farmers will also gain the tools to become more efficient locally, helping them purchase products and vote on issues. This will help make fair trade and organic products more accessible to all.
“I am honored to work with NCBA CLUSA, an organization that has been a pillar of equality for over 100 years, representing over 120 million Americans, and standing at the forefront of social capitalism. This partnership with NCBA CLUSA is the only tangible chance we have with the economic disruption that has taken place, to bring justice to both co-op communities and small and medium-sized businesses in this new age of economic uncertainty”, said Ahmed Attia, President and CEO of Direct Global/Direct Co-ops.
Alex Serrano, Senior Vice President of International Development at NCBA CLUSA, said the organization was thrilled to partner with Direct Global/Direct Co-ops. “Access to an ecommerce platform has never been more critical. This platform will enable us to be more effective in how we link small farmers to markets, helping them and their cooperatives better navigate a post COVID-19 world.”