Family Compensation Fund Improves the Lives of More Than 800 Colombian Farmers

Nov 14, 2019 1:00 PM ET
Blog

The Comfandi Family Compensation Fund is improving lives by providing affordable essential services to low-income people and creating employment opportunities throughout its company value chain.

Bogotá, Colombia, 3 October 2019 - The Comfandi Family Compensation Fund has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to provide affordable essential services to low-income Colombians, integrating 200 additional farmers in its value chain through an agreement to buy their produce to sell in their supermarkets, and strengthening a total of eight farmer associations through training and development by 2020.

Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by urging companies to develop inclusive business models that involve people with a purchasing power of less than $ 10 per day (in 2015 dollars) such as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It has the support of several international organizations and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Established in 1957, Comfandi is a Compensation Fund in Valle del Cauca, Colombia, which offers various services to low-income people at affordable prices, from medical care, subsidies, supermarkets to financial services. Approximately 80 percent of its customers live at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Under its financial services, Comfandi offers housing and credit subsidies with attractive rates, which means that those who cannot access these services in traditional markets now have the opportunity to do so. In addition, they have established supermarkets, drug stores and health care services where people can access basic products at competitive prices. In their Fruver supermarkets, they also actively seek to obtain their products and goods through small producers and local suppliers. Finally, Comfandi also offers cultural and professional development services, such as sports, recreation, education and business training through the associations it supports.

In terms of income, Comfandi is the fourth largest family compensation fund in the country and a leader in southwest Colombia. It covers 57 percent of the 42 municipalities of Valle del Cauca. It has 44,665 affiliated companies of various sectors and sizes, and supports 1,360,700 low-income people in the region.

Over the past four years, Comfandi has worked through local associations to help eliminate middlemen for small producers and rural entrepreneurs when it comes to selling their products, which means they have more profit from their sales. These farmers and entrepreneurs usually belong to minority groups, such as indigenous people or those of African descent, who are in hard-to-reach areas or in areas of armed conflict, which increases the difficulty in bringing their products to market. To address this, Comfandi has worked to strengthen these farmers’ skills by providing training in production, logistics and administrative matters.

“After participating in our training, organizations and producers have acquired more commercial capacity, strengthening aspects such as organization, administration and logistics. This, together with eliminating the intermediary when selling their products, has allowed many of them to get out of poverty, " said Eliana Sandoval, a fruit negotiator at Comfandi’s supermarkets.

Comfandi’s support to rural associations aims to strengthen their production, banking and marketing processes. They provide technical support we provide through partners such as the National Association of Industries and the National Association of Guilds.

“We focus on training, we teach them to grow and produce more fruit by reducing their investment costs, and making their crops more profitable. We teach them to package their products well so that they meet the quality standards so that they do not have losses due to bad handling. We also donate supplies such as plants, fertilizer and materials so they can work better on their land,” said Jacobo Tovar Caicedo, Comfandi CEO.

The new associations will also receive technical and commercial support, to identify buyers who are willing to purchase their products under the same conditions. Comfandi also helps association members to certify their products under sanitary and organic parameters so that they can obtain the sustainability seal and can export to other countries their crops.

Sahba Sobhani, acting Head of Business Call to Action, said: “Comfandi's innovative model supports those who live at the base of the economic pyramid by incorporating them into its value chain in different ways, increasing the sustainability of the initiative and impacting the number maximum of lives ".

For further information: 
BCtA: bcta@undp.org    

BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.

About Business Call to Action (BCtA)
Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org.

About Comfandi 
Comfandi is the Family Welfare Fund (FWF) of the Department of Valle del Cauca located in the pacific, a not-for profit private entity with the purpose of improving the living conditions of the population, helping in the human, family and labor development of workers and their families, contributing to the construction of equity and the processes of strengthening human rights in the country.