Lemberona, fruits, Austria (buyer)
Starting out in 2010, this family-owned business has over 170 organic fair trade products, which they stock in Austria for clients across Europe.
Directly impacting more than 10,000 people, Lemberona enables farmers to sell their products with a higher value in the international market instead of locally. The organisation uses part of its profit to provide assistance to their producers, especially the Uzbeck farmers by providing equipment, inviting them to attend conferences or to visit their premises in Vienna, in order to to gain a better understanding of the European requirements and see the finished goods being produced.
Turkiston Gulba, Turob Bobo and Dustkul Bogi are the three Fairtrade certified smallholder farmers who produce a wide range of organic products. The products are mostly supplied to processor and exporter Silk Road Organic Foods in Samarkand. The representatives of Silk Road Organic Foods train the farmer on planting and growing conditions for organic products even bringing external consultants from Austria.
PEARLS OF SAMARKAND, TREASURES OF THE SILK ROAD
Lemberona works closely with their farmer groups providing workers with the security of money in advance of harvests to ensure fairness and sustainability.
Having the organisation as a customer enables us to reach producers in countries where providing direct finance is not possible.
Since working with Shared Interest, Lemberona has been able to improve their solar-operated drying system, which increases the drying to 24 hours a day. They have also been able to expand their product range and become members of WFTO.
More recently they have opened a Vegan Organic Bistro where they not only sale fresh food but also sell the products under their brand “Silk Road” and in bulk.
The impact of Covid-19
Lemberona reported that they have seen an increase in their online sales which has compensated for the lack of opportunity within the wholesale market.
Lemberona Director, Elmira Bertagnoli remains in close contact with producers and describes the impact on these groups as ‘disastrous, as the farmers have been left without a market for their goods and the means for making money.’ At the end of May, Austria reopened its hospitality industry, with additional precautions, and Elmira hopes that Lemberona will soon be supplying their organic oils, nut butters, beans, seeds and pulses once again. However, she feels that the true impact of Covid-19 is yet to be realised.
“The producers are suffering very much, no market, no money from family members, and no government help. They go back to being subsistence farmers for most of the time. It is important that we offer a future to the producers despite all problems and issues. Lemberona does not close the door but sticks to and supports the producers as much as possible.”
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