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Oikocredit and Naturland issued an invitation to a joint reception to be held on the evening of 10th February, 2016, in the Literaturhaus in Nuremberg, Germany. They were taking the opportunity afforded by the BioFach trade fair which attracts many partners of Naturland and Oikocredit to Nuremberg from all parts of the world.

The event was the most recent in a series, because Naturland had already arranged such joint meetings in prior years during the BioFach. However, the purpose of this year’s joint event with Oikocredit was to allow an exchange of information between the partner organisations of both these organisations and to consolidate existing relationships. Oikocredit is a co-operative which gives assistance in the form of loans to micro-finance institutions, other co-operatives and small business run by the disadvantaged in developing countries and emerging economies. There are some Naturland members who are already partners of Oikocredit.

Over 70 guests accepted the invitation which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. From the start small groups could be observed engaged in conversation in a relaxed atmosphere created by the live background music. Florian Gross, the general manager of Oikocredit International, and Steffen Reese, the general manager of Naturland, welcomed their guests and Carina Torres of Oikocredit Peru greeted the participants in Spanish. Matthias Lehnert, the general manager of the Oikocredit head office in Germany, gave a short introduction to the sumptuous buffet and encouraged all the guests to change places and talk to someone new from time to time. The guests willingly complied with his suggestion.

An interesting mixture of representatives of partner organisations from Asia, Africa, the Near East, Latin America and Europe talked animatedly about tea, coffee, fair trade and many other topics. They were joined by representatives of such fair trade organisations as gepa, dwp and WFTO and by processors such as Naturkost Weber, Grüner Punkt, Lebensbaum and others. The hosts, Oikocredit and Naturland, were represented by numerous members of their staff. In the case of Naturland, Arthur Stein was there to represent the board, and two members of its world advisory board, Edward Mulondo and Frauke Weissang, had also accepted the invitation. Old contacts were renewed and new contacts made. All in all it was a successful event, to be repeated again next year.