Legal clearance of property rights to enhance acces to credit

AVA (Asociación Verde Amazónico) consists of 15 Associations and Cooperatives who represent about 6,000 cocoa and coffee producers in the San Martín region of Peru. The objective of AVA is to represent its members and provide strategic services to grassroots organisations: education and training of producers, advice on organic and sustainable production programs, commercial advice and promotion of responsible management and the conservation of the natural resources.

Most cooperatives have constructed infrastructure on lands that has no defined property status, and cannot be used as a guarantee for loans. Local and regional governments are willing to resolve this issue whenever the cooperatives prepare the legal documents.

ESFIM funded the work of (a team of) specialised lawyers who investigated the legal status of the infrastructure with the board of the cooperative. In each of the member cooperatives of AVA, they compiled a folder with all documents required and assisted the board to start the legal clearance process. This resulted in the description of 32 plots in eight cooperatives that had problems. Based on this analysis, in 2018, AVA started the administrative process of legalization of the infrastructure and land in eight of these cooperatives.

In preparation for face-to-face meetings of the board with the officials that decide on property legalization, and supported by Agriterra, AVA used the ESFIM research findings to compile a lobby document in which they explain the importance of the legalization process and the economic benefits for the sector. The regional authorities reacted positively to this lobby, and started a process to accelerate the legalization of the plots and infrastructure that they had supported in earlier projects.

This structured process of successful, pro-active lobbying with an evidence-based policy document (FACT methodology) is currently presented in different platforms (unions, municipalities, sector workshops) as an example to be replicated by other farmer organisations in their specific areas of advocacy.