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  • Hannah Clark

Webinar: The Importance of the Farmer's Voice in Smallholder Supply Chains

Around 90 percent of the world’s 570 million farms are small, and the owners and labourers who work on them are essential to global business, food security and environmental protection. With generations of experience, these smallholder farmers are more knowledgeable than anyone else about their local growing conditions and the challenges they face – but are their voices being heard by those with the power to enable positive change?

In this webinar, five speakers with extensive experience of working with and sourcing from smallholder producers will discuss the importance of listening to and empowering supplier communities for sustainable international supply chains, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through video footage, farmers in these supply chains will also share their thoughts on the opportunities, challenges and impacts of having their voices heard and heeded, both amongst their peers and more widely by policy-makers and business partners..

Date and time: Thursday 10th June, 12pm-1pm on Zoom.

Interested in attending? Click here to register for your free ticket on Eventbrite.


Cristina Talens is Director of Source Sustainable, a consultancy that advises businesses on ethical issues surrounding their workforce and the environment. Her expertise lies in labour, human rights and environmental stewardship. Her coffee business, Source Climate Change Coffee, is a conservation-led company that buys and sells coffees from cloud forest areas, where the growers undertake reforestation projects. Cristina is also Head of Business Risk Assessment Service at the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute, where her work has focused on advising businesses on how to meet the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act.

The Panel

Hannah Davis has over 15 years’ experience of managing international ‘trade for development’ programmes, with a focus on sustainable and ethical supply chains and the empowerment of smallholder farmers. She has worked with cocoa, coffee, sugar and nut producer organisations across sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America to support improvements in agricultural practice, product quality, market access, governance and women’s participation. Since 2018, Hannah has worked for the Lorna Young Foundation on its Farmers’ Voice Radio initiative, which uses participatory local radio to enable smallholder farmers to share and access timely, relevant and practical information and knowledge that can help to strengthen their livelihoods.

Virginia Sampaio is the Community Fair Trade Senior Buyer at The Body Shop International for several supply chains, including shea butter. This involves working with Community Fair Trade suppliers to ensure the trade is ethical, fair, sustainable and efficient, working closely with new product development teams to develop new products and ingredients, and defining stories and communications around the Community Fair Trade programme. Virginia is passionate about enabling access to and developing ethical and fair international trade practices for less privileged, global communities, and helping to empower women in societies and their wider communities.

Luke Wepukhulu is Director of Operations at Mount Elgon Agroforestry Communities Cooperative Enterprise, a cooperative of 3,033 smallholder coffee farmers living on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda. MEACCE exports high quality washed Arabica coffee to traders and roasters in the UK, Europe and North America and places great emphasis on involving farmer members in decision-making and business management. MEACCE has been implementing a Farmers’ Voice Radio project in partnership with Rainforest Alliance since August 2020.

Grace Hutchison is the Programme Development Officer at InsightShare, a social enterprise that uses participatory media in development, research, grassroots and business contexts to amplify community voices, foster dialogue between stakeholders and seed grassroots innovation. InsightShare has worked on over 300 projects in 60 countries around the world. Grace has worked with Indigenous and community partners from across sub-Saharan Africa and India to produce media on nutrition, traditional land use, climate and socio-cultural issues. Since 2020, she has been working on adapting InsightShare’s methodologies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.



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