For many of us, it was a startling claim.

We know that there are as many as 500 million smallholder farms supporting about 2.5 billion people. We also know that, according to the UN, they provide over 80 percent of the food consumed in the developing world. We see these realities as we partner with diverse organizations and global companies so that more and more supply chains move toward responsible practices.

The unexpected claim, made at our February masters webinar on scaling and innovation came from a widely respected expert on agricultural economics: Tom Reardon. He noted that today’s supply chain efforts are not nearly enough. With other respected economists Julio Berdegué and Gilles Cliché, they calculate that less than 5 percent of the world’s small farmers are directly engaged in multinational supply chains!

There are unfortunately no easy answers to better orient efforts toward this large swath operating outside of global supply chains. And yet, there are solid tools to help us. Pragmatic resilience indicators developed by COSA in collaboration with leading NGOs are now being tested in Syria, Peru, and India. Performance Monitoring is another low-cost tool to quickly ascertain (in real-time) what is working and what is not for small farmers – this example illuminates the heightened risk of farmers not wanting to produce in some areas.

I look forward to hearing your views and do join us for one of the upcoming webinars listed below. Our appreciation to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) for making this possible.

With regards,

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Daniele Giovannucci



COSA Webinars: Igniting Conversations that Matter

Join an exciting upcoming discussion on how to develop indicators for sustainable agriculture. COSA President Daniele Giovannucci will lead the webinar that COSA is co-hosting with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Register for the 30th March webinar here.

We will also host a webinar on “Sustainability Collaborations that Work” in advance of the Specialty Coffee Association’s Global Expo. We know that collaboration is hard, and we will ask smart panelists such as Nathalie Gabbay and Angela Pelaez (RGC), Kim Elena Ionescu (SCA), Hanna Neuschwander (World Coffee Research), and others – about their most successful and most disastrous collaboration approach and how they made it work. Stay tuned for details.

As an organization that thrives on constant collaboration, we invite you to drive our discussions. Tell us what topics you would like us to address here.


New & Noteworthy

Fresh Perspectives within COSA Leadership

Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier is the Chief of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. She played an active role in the development and negotiation of the Sustainable Development Goals for the UN Division of Sustainable Development and brings to COSA her expertise and deep familiarity with the intertwined issues of agriculture, environment, and trade.


A long-time advocate of social change, Ms. Jessica Morris is a Senior VP and Partner at FleismanHillard, one of the world’s largest public relations firms. She recently joined the COSA Board of Directors to, she says, “support a much needed, valued, and relevant organization.” We appreciate her trust and look forward to her guidance.

Read their bios here.


Meet Senior COSA Staff at Upcoming Events

Pablo Ramirez - COSA AdvisorWinrock Director of Blended Finance (and COSA Senior Advisor) Pablo Ramirez will speak about advances in ROI for sustainability at Re:co Seattle, April 19-20.

Director of Partner Relations Saurin Nanavati and Director of Global Operations Chris Sellers will attend the Speciality Coffee Association’s Global Specialty Coffee Expo, in Seattle, April 20-23.

Sharing What We’ve Learned

The American Evaluation Association published COSA Senior Research Advisor Keith Child’s “Evaluation of Research Quality” on its blog. The article discusses why shifting the focus to research that can bring about positive change is needed.

Our International Women’s Day post, “Why Counting Women in Agriculture Matters,” featured the work of our partner the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), with whom we have worked to develop global gender metrics.