SUMMARY OF MARKETING DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES
The Federation provides extensive cooperative training and technical assistance in marketing and assisting cooperative members in securing reliable markets.
The Marketing Department is primarily responsible for marketing assistance and continued marketing capacity development for cooperative members. This includes the following:
Direct Marketing continues to be an important facet of the Federation's overall marketing program because it helps accomplish our basic objective of serving and helping to empower the underserved. We have and continue to focus on three areas of direct marketing: the WIC Program, Rural to Urban Marketing Project and School Lunch Program.
Women, Infants & Children (WIC): Member cooperatives and farmers provide high quality, affordable produce to families under the WIC farmers market coupon program. Coupons were provided to families to purchase locally grown, fresh produce. Ten markets were established and operated under the WIC program in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Nearly 1,200 families purchased produce from four cooperatives and more than $125,000 in coupons were redeemed.
Rural/Urban Marketing Project: This project focuses on proving poor urban consumers with high quality affordable food while ensuring reliable markets for our member farmers and cooperatives. In collaboration with the Georgia Coalition on Hunger, the Federation continues its Rural/Urban Marketing Project in Georgia where member cooperatives provide produce to several public housing facilities in the Atlanta area. We are also working toward helping organize those tenant associations to the point where they can purchase wholesale from the cooperatives and resell the produce at a modest profit, thereby creating jobs and other economic activities in those underserved areas.
We also serve similar markets in South Carolina, Chicago, Washington, DC and Maryland.
School Lunch Program: The USDA sponsored School Lunch Program encourages schools to purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers. One member cooperative - New North Florida Farmers Cooperative - is currently selling produce to several schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The cooperative specializes in cut and packaged greens. We have learned that in order to make the best use of this market, our member cooperatives must provide high quality "value-added" products on a consistent basis. New North Florida Farmers Cooperative has set the standard in this growing market.
Cooperatives are a means by which small farmers can be competitive in the commercial market arena. Cooperatives enable them to pool resources and produce both the quality and quantity required for these markets. Thus, the Federation provides market development, management and coordination assistance to its member cooperatives to help them become successful suppliers for a variety of commercial markets such as Kroger, Kraft and Alliance Foods.
International Development & Marketing
The Emerging Markets Program was established to provide export training and coordination to the Federation's membership. The objective is to enable them to understand and navigate the many complexities associated with exporting.
Our Emerging Markets Department is also part of an on-going development effort to link small family farmers across borders and foster bi-lateral trade. We are presently implementing a collaborative USAID sponsored project between the Federation, Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OICI) and USDA's Rural Business Cooperative Services to conduct a program of cooperative/credit union and marketing capacity development for cooperatives in Ghana and Senegal, West Africa.
The Federation has also entered into agreements with Land O' Lakes and Winrock International to assist in development efforts in Africa and the Caribbean as part of USAID sponsored projects.
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