Producer-Led Governance

At Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation (CPF), we often talk about how we are producer-led in all that we do. Our programmes are led by the needs of our producer partners, they empower small scale farmers by offering the assistance of an extended support network to find solutions to the challenges they face, rather than prescribe remedies from above. However, CPF is also uniquely governed by representatives from smallholder farmers – with a majority of our board members being from producer communities. Governance may not set pulses racing, but it is a vital part of our model and ensures we truly represent the smallholders that make up our organisation. By emphasising participation, transparency and decentralisation, this pioneering, participatory governance model takes our producer-led, innovative and enterprising ethos to the very core of the organisation.

Board June15

From left to right: Catriona Dejean (Trustee), Tom Morgan (Company Secretary), Penny Newman (Trustee), Lenin Tocto (Trustee), Claire Rhodes (General Manager), Katie Messick Maddox (Business Development Manager), Alvaro Gomez (ex-Chair), Kenny Ewan (CEO, WeFarm), Lebi Hudson (Trustee), Nimrod Wambette (Chair), Andrew Ethuru (Ex-Trustee), Pauline Boit (Trustee)

Last week, at our latest board meeting in London, we welcomed new board members Lenin Tocto, Lebi Hudson and Pauline Jepkorir Boit and bid a sad farewell to long-term representatives Andrew Ethuru and Alvaro Gomez. As we welcome our new board and look forward to the next era in CPF’s development, we would like to thank Andrew and Alvaro for their dedication over the last 6 years. As they brought CPF through the critical years that lay the foundation they have certainly seen the organisation develop rapidly. Speaking passionately at Cafedirect’s AGM they both highlighted the important role that both Cafedirect and CPF have played in supporting smallholder communities globally.

AA15 2

It is always very interesting to have the board come together to share producer challenges and use their vast experience in the field to bring new ideas to the table, sharing innovative ideas of ways that CPF can continue to help support smallholder communities across the world. With our new board in place we will work to become increasingly producer-led and to extend this governance model as an even more integral part of our operational strategy. By working to develop the capacity of future leaders and build the prestige of the CPF board within producer organisations, we aim to create a deeper and more inclusive connection with smallholders, allowing them to feel simultaneously more represented and empowered by the organisation.

You can find more photos from the week on our Facebook page here. See below for short biographies of our new board members:

Lenin Tocto


Lenin is the General Manager of the Chirinos coffee cooperative in Peru. where a number of pioneering initiatives have been implemented such as developing an organic composting facility. He is well networked with other Latin American partners and has a long history of assisting cooperatives to become thriving businesses.


Lebi Hudson


Lebi is the General Manager of the Rungwe Smallholders Tea Association (RSTGA) in Tanzania who have been working with Cafedirect since 2003. RSTGA played a key role in testing the WeFarm platform developed by Cafedirect Producers Foundation and have made significant investment in participatory governance processes in their organisation under Lebi’s leadership.


Pauline Jepkorir Boi


Pauline is a well-respected leader at Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment Programme, and was recently re-elected onto their Board of Directors. She leads a number of initiatives to empower women within the organisation, and has trained over 200 women to-date on how to improve their farms and kitchen gardens.

Pauline has become more involved in CPF activities since the launch of CPF’s East Africa Producer Innovation Programme in 2013. Before joining the board she participated in the first project planning meeting in Entebbe, and played a key role in Sireet’s hosting of the CPF Innovation Marketplace in 2014.

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