Why importing our produce in your far away country ?
In a nutshell, what we want to do is what we call ‘solidarity exports’, aiming to actively support small farmers of Greece. Solidarity exports bring the principles and ethics of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement to the European level by connecting low intensity, small-scale agroecological Greek farmers directly with other CSA networks in Europe.
The collective quantities of the citrus fruits cannot be absorbed by the Greek market -mainly due to the collapse of purchasing power for the majority of the population.
Having started two years ago with fair trade exports of citrus fruit we realized that the bulk of fiscal returns still lies with the middle men and women to the disadvantage of both the producers and the consumers. So we thought to get in touch with individual CSAs and other networks, solidarity and social spaces, social enterprises and other small solidarity economy schemes and organize direct exports for produce that is not available and does not grow locally (i.e. oranges, lemons and mandarins and later on olives and olive oil).
The goal is to provide our small farmers a significant boost in their ability to survive and continue farming, while consumers outside of Greece can have access to high quality, ethical agricultural produce at a reasonable price without threatening the livelihood of local farmers. It is a win-win-win situation and we would like your help.
Why support Greek small farmers?
The 2016 austerity pack has been particularly harsh for agricultural producers who now have to Prepay 50% of NEXT year’s tax along with significant raises in taxation and health contributions; agricultural petrol tax has gone from 60€ to 330€ per ton and ENFIA, a new, crisis-generated, property tax is applied to land owners, even for non-arable fields.
Since owing money to the government has been criminalized, many farmers will soon be facing jail time and/or confiscation of their land. Most small-scale farmers in Greece operate on one or more extremely small pieces of land (as small as 0.3 ha) that may not even be close together. The extreme land fragmentation of course comes with many disadvantages -especially cost and time wise. And the fact that they have small yields doesn’t help in increasing their bargaining power against merchants and middlemen.
So, we thought, just like in Permaculture, that we can turn the problem on its head and make it into the solution! Because, on the other hand, this fragmentation means that we have small pockets of uniqueness with very high levels of biodiversity all around the country.
The way forward is not charity but solidarity!
How does this work ?
We have structured the price around what we believe to be a fair price for both producers and consumers.
For instance, in order to ship fruits to Belgium, roughly the budget is as follows from a retail price of 2,25 € per kilo VAT included:
– Producer : 1€ goes to the producer,
– Cooperative : 0,10 €
– Packing : 0,30 € for boxes, labour and handling, packing for export,
– Transport : 0,60 €
– VAT : 0,25 €
VAT : for those of you who operate as unregistered collectives, as opposed to registered legal entities, the price includes a 13% VAT. May you need a proforma invoice, please let us know!
Oranges are pretty sturdy fruits and do not require refrigeration for storage or transport for short periods of time.
Basically, you order as a group via our online purchase survey. Your total purchase should be at least one pallet (Packaging can be in 15-Kg cardboard boxes or 12-Kg or 6-Kg, you will need to specify us) to meet international transport requirements :
- Euro Pallet (48 boxes of 15 Kg) : 720 Kg
- Block Pallet (60 boxes of 15Kg) : 900 Kg
How can you participate ?
First fill out the online form to register, create a new Group in your country or join an existing one, select your produce and quantities.
When the total order for your group has reached the minimum weight of a pallet, or two, or three (it has to be an integer number of pallets), confirm your final purchase by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org, letting us know :
- the final quantities per per produce type
- the delivery address
- if you require a pro forma invoice, your VAT number
The fruits will be harvested between the next Wednesday and Friday, packaged and shipped on Sunday. The delivery day will depend on your local carrier conditions.
You will receive upon delivery a Packing List detailing the shipment manifest.
Tools & Documentation to help you out
To be practical, we put together some documentation and tools to help you figuring out how to organise for your own Solidarity Export, feel free to download, use and spread !
All documents are stored on our Cloud : when clicking on the links below, you will be prompted for a login (Visitor) and password (guestguest).
- Detailed description of how the group in Brussels operates : Kinobio_BELGIUM_How.We.Operate.pdf – Points out the successive steps you’ll need to go through, suggests options and highlight the main issues.
- Order Management Spreadsheet Template : Kinobio_2019.MONTH_Order.Template.ots – This spreadsheet will help you listing your participants, record their individual orders, track their payments, compare delivered quantities vs. ordered quantities, and follow-up on pick-ups by your participants. Pretty simple to use, calculations are automated so that your input is limited to the minimum. Kinobio_2019.MONTH_Example.ods – Along with the template file you can see an example of how it looks like and what is does once you put some data in there. Kinobio_2019.MONTH_Order.Template_HowTo.pdf – This user guide to deal with the template spreadsheet addresses practical questions for (almost) all level of computer knowledge.
Hopefully these will be outdated some time early 2019 when replaced by an online ordering platform where Participants will be able to place their orders directly and pay online. This online platform is currently being tested in Belgium with a CSA group. Once we’re sure it’s working alright, the platform will be deployed and live demonstrations will be organised, stay tuned !
- Email Templates : Kinobio_Email_Collectives.eml – This is a Solidarity Export presentation Email to Participants you can use and tweak for yout own group. Kinobio_Email_Payment.eml – This template shows a recap of one’s order, the total amount due, and bank info to make the payment by wire. Adapt it the way you want!
To reduce transportation costs as well as the distance and fossil fuel emissions, the online order platform will follow our first try at centralizing orders, align shipments and dates and getting more pallets in the truck at once. It is not yet perfect, as requirements of the participating groups may differ in various was, but we’re trying!
Finally, you can make a huge difference for us here by following our posts on this website, to stay in touch with what’s happening on our land and farms, by sending us some feedback at email@example.com, and… spread the word widely, it’s easy, it’s solidarity, and it’s delicious!