Patrick Struebi


Fairtrasa lifts small-scale farmers in emerging economies out of poverty by selling healthy organic and fairtrade produce, grains and wines to international markets at fair prices

Focus: Fairtrade, Education, Microfinance, Employment
Geographic Area of Impact: Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Turkey
Model: Social Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 6,500 (2013)
Annual Budget: USD $43 million (2014)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 100%

Agriculture is key to fighting poverty. Almost three-quarters of the world’s extremely poor – nearly 1 billion people – live in rural areas. Most rural households depend on agriculture as part of their livelihoods, and about 90 percent of the world’s extremely poor are small-scale farmers (FAO 2012). Yet, small-scale farmers around the world face severe challenges. First, they generally produce low quality fruit with low yields because they lack agricultural know-how and adequate farming inputs and technology. More importantly, small-scale farmers generally sell their fruit to middlemen or in local markets at low prices as they lack access to fair paying markets, transportation to get there, or connections to supply chains. The combination of these factors traps millions of small-scale farmers in a vicious circle with little hope to escape poverty without support from the outside.

Innovation and Activities
Fairtrasa is a social enterprise that lifts small-scale farmers out of poverty by selling healthy, organic and fairtrade produce, grains and wine to international markets at fair prices.

Fairtrasa’s innovation is its pioneering three-tier farmer development model. Fairtrasa works with small-scale farmers at different development stages. Subsistence, semi-skilled, and experienced farmers all receive tailored training. They learn organic farming techniques, how to increase yields, and how to improve fruit quality to meet international standards. Fairtrasa provides access to capital investments to buy seeds, fertilizer and farm equipment and offers logistical support from harvest to packing and shipping. In addition, Fairtrasa helps farmers obtain export certifications and sell their goods through Fairtrasa’s global sales network.

Fairtrasa has scaled its development model to reach 6,500 farmers in six countries. In 2014, Fairtrasa will continue expanding to Central America and Africa.

Fairtrasa’s small-scale farmers break the cycle of poverty and empowers them with the tools that will can change their own lives.

The Entrepreneur
A social entrepreneur, Patrick founded Fairtrasa in 2005. Patrick is an Ashoka Fellow, an Endeavor Entrepreneur and a Yale World Fellow. For his pioneering work in sustainable agriculture, he was named “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in Mexico in 2009 (Visionaris), and two times in 2012 by the abc* foundation and Univision.