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Smallholder development

Woman working in maize field

In Peru we are encouraging smallholder development by moving part of our hard yellow maize procurement from imports to local crops grown by smallholder farmers. Our Peruvian business, Backus, has partnered with CEDEPAS (The Ecumenical Centre of Promotion and Social Action) in the project and during the last year it has worked with 96 farmers providing technical assistance. We purchased 1,583 tonnes of maize between December 2008 and March 2009 from 80 of these farmers who met our brewing standards. The smallholders increased their productivity from an average of 7.5 tonnes per hectare to 8.7 tonnes per hectare as part of the project.

CEDEPAS also assists the farmers to set up cooperative associations to improve their buying and selling power. Two associations are now running and selling directly to Backus.

This initiative is part of the ‘Progresando Juntos’ programme that aims to improve conditions and create opportunities for micro and small enterprises. The goal for the next year is to increase our purchase of maize to around 6,000 tonnes and to provide assistance to approximately 130 smallholders.

Training craftsmen entrepreneurs

A man making clay figures

‘Progresando Juntos’ is a development programme aimed at small and medium-sized businesses in the areas of Peru in which Backus, our Peruvian business, operates.

Within the scheme, the ‘Huaca de la Luna’ project seeks specifically to encourage tourism and economic activity in the northern part of the country. Named after archaeological monuments in northern Peru, it helps local craftsmen to become more productive, looking at quality of service in the craft trade and the organisation of micro-scale, craft-related businesses.

During the 2009 financial year, more than 100 craftsmen took part in workshops emphasising the importance of quality for both the products and services they provide, as well as providing them with tools to best manage their business. With 110 hours of lectures and 60 hours of individual technical assistance, the workshops offered training in entrepreneurial management, costs, marketing and business plans.

Pro-bono legal assistance for employees

Backus employee receiving legal advice

In November 2008, our Peruvian business, Backus, began a project to provide free legal advice to employees and those supplying services to Backus or one of the group’s companies. Under the scheme, which is aimed at the less well-off, a Backus lawyer is available for verbal consultation for four hours every 15 days.

The programme advances Backus’ vision of being the most admired company for its management model and ensures access to justice and legal advice for all group members, providing assistance mainly to employees who particularly need the service. It covers topics such as family rights, contracts, succession, taxation, banking debts and indemnification from accidents, though it stops short of providing formal legal representation.

40 employees used the service in 2009. Offered as an additional non-cash employee benefit, the initiative is promoted through the internal electronic communications bulletin and directly to co-workers.