FSC used the first grant from its new Smallholders Fund to sponsor a booth at Certified Brazil for 5 FSC certified Brazilian communities who otherwise would not get as much exposure at the fair:
• Comunidade Kayapó na Terra Indígena do Baú
• COMARU - Cooperativa Mista dos Productores Extrativistas dos Rio Iratapuru
• Oficina Escola de Lutheria da Amazônia (OELA)
Certified Brazil is a trade fair that happens every 2 years in São Paulo where the focus is on certified forestry and agricultural producers. The trade fair showcases the wide variety of certified products and attracts a lot of buyers, companies, stakeholders, auditors, and interested public. There has never been this level of exposure and interest in small and community producers at Certified Brazil before. Communities were invited to display their products and video and print materials (including business cards) were made to decorate the booths and facilitate discussions with potential buyers. The event showcased guitars made in Manaus by OELA using FSC certified wood from smallholders, samples of timber from COOPERFLORESTA in Acre state, NTFPs such as brazil nut harvested by the Kayapo and by COMARU. Cocoa certified by the Rainforest Alliance was also showcased at the booth.
Events like this are important points of exposure for smallholders, and FSC hopes that this effort can be repeated for other parts of the world. One reason for the success in Brasil is that there is a domestic demand for FSC, especially from smallholders, that drives increased interest in their products. The FSC Marketplace can act similarly - as a virtual trade fair for smallholders that provides them with a secure and easy way to connect to buyers online and can stimulate demand for small and community products. As the marketplace goes from beta to final stages, make sure you are able to connect and post your free profile online.