Our impact grows

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2019. It’s remarkable proof of the success of our approach, but the milestones went well beyond it. We brought two million hectares of land under good management practices this year. That’s double the amount in 2018. We also worked with 700,000 smallholder farmers – helping them to build better livelihoods using climate-smart methods – surpassing our target of 670,000. Most gratifying of all, we saw our impact increase exponentially thanks to the mainstreaming of sustainability. As thought leaders, Solidaridad collaborated with governments around the world to regulate oversight of supply chains beyond voluntary certification schemes. That’s the way forward to ensure farmers and other workers get a fair share of the value of what they produce. And to feed the growing population while protecting the earth.

Highlights of 2019

  • Asia

    This was the first full year of operations for Solidaridad Asia following the merger of Solidaridad South and South East Asia, and China. In 2019, we expanded our market-based approach to clean water to two new locations. We also adopted Fair Data – a unique solution beyond certification – for our Tea and Sugarcane programmes. And on the sustainable palm oil front, we supported a much-awaited consensus between Indonesia, Malaysia and India.

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  • Central America

    We signed multiple agreements and led the development of high-impact programmes such as the Zero Deforestation Declaration in Honduras. Ongoing drought spotlighted our climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives. Against a backdrop of economic and social instability, we facilitated the implementation of good practices in supply chains. MESA, our integrated landscape management strategy, drove the development of business models for landscape transformation.

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  • East and Central Africa

    In 2019, we accelerated and deepened our market-based interventions with a focus on 2020 and beyond. With multiple key projects reaching maturity, we extracted lessons and best practices. For instance, we are learning from the outcomes of multiple projects in Kenya and Ethiopia which have trained farmers in good dairy practices. We increased our business development activities and developed a strong opportunities pipeline. We also expanded our efforts in Central Africa, particularly in Cameroon.

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  • Europe

    Fortunately, awareness of the importance of a living income for smallholder farmers and workers grew this year. Our pop-up shop in Amsterdam in November exposed the low prices farmers receive for their products and drew significant media attention. Solidaridad played an active role in the conversation on how to achieve living incomes for people at the beginning of supply chains. We helped draft policy frameworks and regulations, and crafted meaningful initiatives with corporate partners.

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  • North America

    This was a year of transition and reflection. We progressed on building meaningful partnerships, and brought together stakeholders to address pressing issues in supply chain sustainability. With the onboarding of a new managing director, our lean team assessed the current internal and external landscape and rebuilt its strategy for 2020 and beyond. This included an analysis of the unique position we have to pursue opportunities for impact globally.

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  • South America

    Focused on landscape restoration and low-carbon agriculture, we reinforced engagement with companies and smallholder farmers in 2019. In Brazil, some of our cocoa programme participants sold their premium product at triple the price of standard cocoa. In Paraguay’s vulnerable Chaco region, dairy farmers decreased their greenhouse gas emissions by 62% while increasing productivity, and beef producers increased volumes by 60%, all using climate-smart methods.

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  • Southern Africa

    Solidaridad Southern Africa helped craft a new continental vision for Africa, and convened a dialogue on environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Implementation initiatives continued on the ground, albeit under challenging circumstances. Political turmoil and climate change-related events devastated smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. In response, we brought more than triple our target of land under good agricultural practices, helped rebuild lives after Cyclone Idai, and grew our gender-inclusive Soy programme.

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  • West Africa

    By working with a range of partners, we aligned with and contributed to national development agendas in the region. Some 26 initiatives improved practices in cocoa, gold, coffee, cashew, and oil palm. Our work enhanced the quality of life of more than 60,000 smallholder farmers, workers, and small and growing businesses providing agricultural services. Our programmes harnessed partnerships, mainstreamed climate-smart practices, and delivered digital innovations to assure high-performing, impactful interventions.

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By Mariam Dao Gabala
Chair of the International Supervisory Board

I would like to begin by welcoming Jeroen Douglas, who was appointed Solidaridad’s executive director in May. Jeroen had already served Solidaridad for a quarter of a century. Among his achievements are helping to create our network of Regional Expertise Centres which ensure we have a truly global presence.

While he will ensure the continuity of Solidaridad’s successful approach, I know he also has some transformative ideas about the next steps for this organization. The International Supervisory Board and I very much look forward to working with him in his new capacity. In succeeding Nico Roozen, Jeroen has some remarkable shoes to fill.

Our heartfelt thanks to Nico for his 33 years at the head of Solidaridad. He made us a player on the global stage, and ensured Farmers First has become far more than just a motto. He has strived tirelessly to deliver a fairer deal for smallholders and other workers, while always upholding high sustainability standards.

He couldn’t have done it without the remarkable people that make up the Solidaridad team. Please know that I am deeply grateful to you all. It was wonderful to meet some more of you – and our beneficiaries – at the anniversary celebrations this year.

The focus in this annual report is, as ever, on the hundreds of remarkable programmes we run on five continents. Read on and discover more about them, as well as the strategy and innovative methods that underpin them. From optimized use of data, to prize-winning initiatives for more inclusive agriculture, our impact was greater than ever in 2019.


The Solidaridad Network is registered as a foundation at the Chamber of Commerce in Utrecht, the Netherlands, under the number 51756811.

Network Secretariat
't Goylaan 15
Utrecht 3525 AA
The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 (0)30 275 94 50

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