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NOV 4, 2015

Wise investors can help Fairtrade entrepreneurs blossom, thanks to social investment firms like Shared Interest

In developing nations around the world, there are thousands of smart, ethical and sustainable businesses upholding the bold traditions of the Fairtrade revolution. 

Many have excellent growth prospects, with access to raw materials, skills and ingenuity to create fresh, interesting products, and at the same time consumers are becoming increasingly savvy in wanting to trace the supply chain of their goods.

But without access to the capital they need to help their business grow, some entrepreneurs can struggle to make the leap into realising their potential. 

That is where an organisation like Shared Interest can play a crucial role. Shared Interest is a community benefit society, which provides unsecured finance, similar to trade credit, by linking social investors in the UK with Fairtrade organisations overseas.

 Set up to harness socially responsible investment for the finance of Fairtrade, it has helped thousands of organisations over the past 25 years.

As well as its UK headquarters, Shared Interest has offices in Kenya, Peru, Ghana and Costa Rica, which has helped them in their aim of increasing their lending directly to producers. A large proportion of lending – just under half – is to producers trading in coffee. However, Shared Interest has worked hard to find more diverse products requiring their finance. 

This has extended to fruit such as mangoes, pineapples, coconuts and dates, and nuts such as cashews.

Shared Interest has become a crucial player in the Fairtrade market

Due to the seasonality of these products in different regions, the demand for credit varies throughout the year. 

For instance, when the coffee harvest in South America finishes, the Central American harvest begins, meaning their borrowing peaks never coincide. 

This allows Shared Interest to commit to lend more money than their capital value total. 

Lending some £48m last year to 400 organisations in 65 countries, Shared Interest has become a crucial player in the Fairtrade market, allowing producers to meet market demand and up-scale when necessary.

Toro Saifou, an account manager at Association TON (ATN), explains:
“Without the financial support from Shared Interest we wouldn’t be where we are now. Sales volume and value are up, producers have increased and the number of employees has increased by 74 per cent. It has allowed us to expand under our own direction and to take opportunities as they arise.”

ATN was founded in Burkina Faso in the early 1990s. It was one of the first organisations in the country to dry mangoes, both as a means of preservation and to add value. 

Their first drying unit in Niangoloko is now one of 15 mango-drying ovens in operation – but as a means to grow, the company needed to find a source of income outside of the mango season.

Three years ago ATN began dealing in raw cashew nuts. But diversification in itself does not provide the answers. Cashew harvesting in Burkino Faso begins in February, and dried mango is exported up until September, still leaving four months of the year without significant income generation or employment. ATN therefore needed access to capital to tide the company over and allow it to grow.

ATN approached Shared Interest for assistance in funding a truck to help them collect raw materials and to improve processing facilities, in the hope this would bring threefold increases in production and a 50 per cent increase in profits.

Saifou says the investment they received is “personal in the sense that we provide jobs and this means the community rely on us for regular income. But it’s also about our potential to be a sustainable and robust business”.

There is a social echo in Britain too: the concept of investing money in good causes is appealing to a new generation of investors who are wary of the complex moral grounds of traditional investment.

 More than 9,000 UK individuals invest between £100 and £100,000 in Shared Interest. 

This share capital is pooled and used to give loans and credit facilities to Fairtrade businesses like ATN, worldwide.

As an ethical investment organisation that acts co-operatively, Shared Interest allows members to withdraw, and add to, their funds at any time. 

A minimum of £100 will keep their Share Account open, and while this is the case, investors are changing lives across the world.

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While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???

In alphabetical order by Country....



Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 

It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

Mangoes date back 65 million years according to research ...

Experts at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (BSIP) here have traced the origin of mango to the hills of Meghalaya, India from a 65 million year-old fossil of a mango leaf. 

The earlier fossil records of mango (Mangifera indica) from the Northeast and elsewhere were 25 to 30 million years old. The 'carbonized leaf fossil' from Damalgiri area of Meghalaya hills, believed to be a mango tree from the peninsular India, was found by Dr R. C. Mehrotra, senior scientist, BSIP and his colleagues. 

After careful analysis of the fossil of the mango leaf and leaves of modern plants, the BISP scientist found many of the fossil leaf characters to be similar to mangifera.

An extensive study of the anatomy and morphology of several modern-day species of the genus mangifera with the fossil samples had reinforced the concept that its centre of origin is Northeast India, from where it spread into neighbouring areas, says Dr. Mehrotra. 

The genus is believed to have disseminated into neighb…

DHL (INDIA) makes gifting mangoes as easy as 1-2-3-....

Gifting mangoes is now easy with DHL
Announcement / Corporate

 May 19, 2011, 14:04 IST

Come this summer pamper your loved ones abroad with a box of delicious mangoes through DHL’s Express Easy Mango service, a unique one-stop-shop and hassle-free service for gifting mangoes all across the world.

This unique service by DHL Express, the world’s leading express company, allows customers to send mangoes from India across the world to the following countries Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxemburg, Maldives, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Qatar Singapore, Switzerland and Sweden.

Mangoes can be availed of free of cost by merely paying for the Air Express service. In addition, DHL Express assists customers with the necessary paperwork along with procurement of quality-grade Alphonso mangoes.

Commenting on the new service, Mr. R.S Subramanian, Country Head, DHL Express India said: “With the advent of the mango season, it is no wonder that DHL Express Ea…