NovoTRADE consists of a group of enthusiastic people who bring their own ideas together in various company projects. Working together within NovoTRADE gives everyone the necessary feedback to make things work. Growth in itself is not an aim of NovoTRADE, but we are open to anybody with practical ideas that fit our philosophy. Our purpose is to maintain flexibility and effectiveness, while keeping overhead as low as possible. For this reason, a network of complementary experts and consultancy firms has been developed (see partners). In this way, major and more complex projects can be dealt with, without the pitfalls and overhead costs typical of bigger organisations.


Jos Algra (1957) has a Masters degree in Socio-Cultural Sciences with a specialisation in Economics from the University of Utrecht. For seven years he worked in Nicaragua, and for five of these years he held various positions at the Ministry of Agriculture. Back in the Netherlands he worked for two years as co-ordinator of a working group on the European Small Farmers Trade Agency. After that he was offered the job of general manager of a coffee export co-operative, where he worked for three years. He became a co-founder of NovoTRADE to support export activities for small and medium sized farms in Africa and Latin America. Jos is working on major export products such as coffee, cocoa, bananas, nuts and timber. He has expertise in credit and financing, project and organisation management, product and market development, rural agricultural development and social anthropology.


Bert Beekman (1952) graduated in 1976 from Wageningen Agricultural University with a Masters degree in Soil Science and Hydrology. 10 years of his work experience in Honduras and Nicaragua were dedicated mainly to organisational support of major co-operative organisations of small farmers, as well as project development and implementation. He was the founding director of the Max Havelaar Foundation (Netherlands), the first mainstream fair trade labelling organisation, which develops fair trade markets for coffee and cocoa and supports the development of sister fair trade labelling organisations in many European countries. After 7 years he stepped down from this position to found, together with Jos Algra, NovoTRADE Consult b.v. (1995). NovoTRADE is a consultancy specialising in product and trade development of tropical agricultural commodities for the European market: both the mainstream market and fair trade, and today the combined fair trade and organic market.


Herman uit de Bosch (1961) is an alumnus of Wageningen Agricultural University. After two years at the Latin America-Asia desk of the headquarters of SNV, the Netherlands Development Organisation in the Hague, he worked for five years in Bolivia. He started and supervised various trade projects in Brazil nuts and clothing, as well as trade and certification projects in tropical timber and other projects in food safety. While based in Bolivia, he also worked in Ecuador and Peru. Beside his Latin American experience he has lived in several African countries. Before joining NovoTRADE Herman worked for a year and a half as a programme co-ordinator on food security issues at the Wemos Foundation. At NovoTRADE he began work in product and trade development for nuts and fresh, organic and fair trade fruit. His other experience is in project organisation and management.


Maarten Rijninks (1962) graduated from the Agriculture College of Dronten and Wageningen Agricultural University. Maarten’s main work experience abroad is in India, where he was a general manager of an organic demonstration farm for three years. Posted at a top policymaking organisation, the Netherlands Society for Nature and Environment, he worked five years as programme co-ordinator for a network of 32 nature and environmental organisations. Two more years of project management work at Agro Eco, a leading consultancy firm in organic production, formed a solid basis for his move to NovoTRADE, where he is mainly in charge of combined organic and fair trade projects. His expertise is in tropical organic agriculture, social criteria setting, environmental science, project and organisation management, and fundraising.


Monique van de Vijver (1966) is an accredited translator of Spanish and French (Translators College, Maastricht, 1988), and graduated from Utrecht University with a Masters degree in Latin American studies (1992). For several years she was the Max Havelaar Foundation co-ordinator of the International Fair Trade Coffee Producers’ Register, and was responsible for producer relationships in Central America and the Dominican Republic. From 1994 to 1996 she conducted a gender development program in rural areas of El Salvador. In 1997 she joined NovoTRADE, assuming responsibility for the development and management of The Smell of Coffee, a producer-owned chain of espresso coffee bars, a special NovoTRADE project. The pilot shop opened its doors in early 1999 in the modern heart of Rotterdam. Since giving birth to Bas she is on standby. In coming years, expansion of The Smell of Coffee is foreseen within the Netherlands and into other European countries, as well as into coffee-producing countries.


Sasha Courville (1972) graduated from York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (Canada) and the London School of Economics. She is currently completing a PhD at the Australian National University on incorporating social and ecological costs into international trade. This involves tracing fair trade, organic and other production to consumption systems of coffee from Southern Mexico into consumer markets in North America and Europe. Sasha has also been involved in a number of projects in the development of harmonised voluntary certification and labelling systems. She is currently working with NovoTRADE on initiatives to build a social agenda for organic agriculture. One example is a project supported by FLO, CEPAA and IFOAM to determine harmonisation options at the level of social accountability and monitoring in sustainable agriculture.


Email directory

Jos Algra
Bert Beekman
Herman uit de Bosch
Maarten Rijninks
Monique van de Vijver
Sasha Courville
last updated: 20 october 2000
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