How we work

How we work

When we dream alone, our dreams are just dreams. But when many dream together it is the beginning of a new reality.

Building on decades of work in rural development and on our well-established expertise in creating inclusive business relationships, our strategy sets out our systems approach for working with diverse partners to strengthen selected commodity sectors (rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, pulses, cocoa and coffee) and to address the wider food system challenges of cities.

Rikolto runs 4 global programmes in 17 countries around the world:

In these programmes, we seek change in three key food system domains :

  • Sustainable production

  • Inclusive markets

  • Enabling environments

We aim to prioritise key social and environmental issues in our four global programmes

Across our global Rice, Cocoa, Coffee and Food Smart Cities programmes, we want to emphasise gender inclusion and youth engagement to vitalise food systems and speed up food system changes. Due to the increase in production areas with the rapidly increasing consumer demand for sustainable and affordable food under the favour of ongoing successful cooperations in our programmes, we want to minimise the negative impacts to reduce environmental damage, address climate change impacts, preserve biodiversity, and enhance food system resilience in the face of shocks and crises.

  • Helping to address the challenge by contributing to an enabling environment for youth engagement.

  • Empowering women to access inputs, information, finance, labour and mobility.

  • Assigning high priority to conserving the wealth of biodiversity on which food systems depend and to protecting the natural ecosystems that harbour biodiversity.

  • Tackling the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1- zero poverty, SDG 2- zero hunger, SDG 3- Good Health and Wellbeing) to food systems to speed up the transition to sustainable food systems through centralising collaboration (in line with SDG 17, Partnerships for the Goals).

Rikolto has worked hard over the last 40 years to provide equal opportunities for women and men in its programmes. Nonetheless, the results show a significant gender gap, with women accounting for just 33% of those receiving our support. The time has come for bolder steps to mainstream gender inclusion by incorporating women’s empowerment into each of the domains where Rikolto works. That's why in 2021, colleagues from every Rikolto office joined to develop a Strategy for Gender Equality, geared at opening up more opportunities for women in the agri-food sector.

Download our strategy for gender equality

Who are the farmers we work with?

Rikolto works with smallholder farmers who can build a living from farming in the long run. These are often not the most vulnerable poor farmers or landless farm labourers. This group has other needs: a proper social security system and access to decent labour. The expertise of Rikolto relies on bringing farmers, through their organisations, towards a higher level of professionalism to build sustainable livelihoods based on farming activities.

What commodities do we focus on?

Rikolto decided to concentrate on only a few commodities: coffee, cocoa, rice and fresh fruit & vegetables. Our main area of expertise lies in methodologies and approaches to strengthen farmers’ organisations as businesses and support them in building long-term relationships with other stakeholders inside and outside value chains. Yet these methodologies and approaches often have specific and different characteristics for each commodity, depending on the specifics of the market systems (stockmarkets, market players, etc.), production systems and policy environments for these commodities.

In some cases, we still work with specific commodities other than those that we focus on (cinnamon in Indonesia, sesame in Senegal) for historical reasons or because of very specific opportunities.

Charlotte Flechet
Charlotte Flechet
Good Food For Cities programme director
Abdulahi Aliyu
Abdulahi Aliyu
Cocoa and coffee programme director
Catur Utami Dewi
Catur Utami Dewi
Rice programme director