Getting to Know 4 Fairtrade Co-ops

Over the last few months we’ve been sharing short videos like this one that highlight some of the Fairtrade co-ops we’ve worked with over the years.

The main message behind all the videos: small choices lead to big changes. The simple gesture of choosing Fairtrade Certified coffee—coffee that puts farmers and their families first—is powerful. Regardless of how small it might feel.

In the words of Mexican coffee farmer Victor Perezgrovas:

Many little raindrops falling in the mountains make the mighty rivers flow.

Hey you. Yes, you. You’re one powerful raindrop. 

When you buy 100% Fairtrade Certified coffee, you know that the farmers who grew it were able to cover their cost of production, support their families, and invest back into their community.

So let’s dive into how some of these Fairtrade co-ops are choosing to invest their additional funds—or their “Fairtrade Premium”.

1. Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (COCAFCAL) in Honduras

Image source: Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada

COCAFCAL is located in Western Honduras in the buffer zone of the Celaque National Park—a cloud forest that contains the highest mountain in the country. COCAFCAL’s mission is to promote the sustainable development of the local economy in the southern region of Copan, Honduras. It strives to develop financial, technical, productive and marketing services within the framework of its cooperative. The cooperative’s ultimate goal is to reduce poverty and increase the quality of life in the rural communities of western Honduras.

With funds from the Fairtrade Premium, COCAFCAL has implemented a health center, in addition to investing in medical brigades. The Health Center (“Centro de Salud”) is located in the small village of Capucas, where the cooperative pays a doctor (general physician) to provide free healthcare services Monday through Friday. Medical brigades bring specialists from Honduras and beyond to tend to the communities where cooperative members reside.

2. Asosiación Barillense de Agricultores in Guatemala

Image source: Asosiación Barillense de Agricultores

Asosiación Barillense de Agricultores is located in north-western Guatemala and their mission is to grow high quality organic coffee in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Thanks to the Fairtrade Premium, the organization was able to set up a scholarship fund for members and their children—which includes both primary and secondary school students. They now plan to begin a university scholarship scheme.

An additional fund enables young people to begin a career in the technical management of cooperatives. This will help train the next generation in coffee cultivation and cooperative management.

3. Asociación de Productores Ecológicos de Planadas (ASOPEP) in Colombia

Image source: Asociación de Productores Ecológicos de Planadas 

ASOPEP is based in the town of Planadas, located in a thriving coffee region in Colombia that is relatively new to the coffee market. The region boasts warm days, cool nights and healthy young trees; this, along with the farmer’s attention to detail in cultivation, harvesting, and processing, creates an amazing cup of high-grade coffee.

The cooperative’s mission is “to be known as an association that creates opportunities for the personal growth of its members, protects the environment, innovates in commercial business processes and is always in the vanguard of specialty coffee producers worldwide.” No small feat. 

ASOPEP invested part of the Fairtrade Premium in water treatment systems, specifically for the residual water left over after washing coffee. After being treated, this water is used to make fertilizers, water coffee plants, etc.. This way, the water going back into the eco-system is not contaminating local water sources.

4. Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples (CENFROCAFE) in Peru

CENFROCAFE is one of the strongest cooperatives in Peru, both in terms of volume and quality. They are committed to their members and have many initiatives in place to support them. 

Dedicated to the environment, CENFROCAFE has invested in reforestation, purchasing seeds for native plant and tree species. In this case, Fairtrade Premium funds were used to remunerate organization members, specifically for their reforestation efforts.

The co-op also invested part of the Premium in training members on biodiversity protection and reforestation. In three years’ time, CENFROCAFE hopes to plant 200,000 native and exotic plant species throughout their organization.  

To learn more about CENFROCAFE, here’s a great 3 minute video.

     

Each Fairtrade co-op mentioned has chosen to focus their additional funds into what they consider the biggest game changer for their community—from reforestation, to water conservation, to medical care, to education.

They’re able to do so with the support of the Fairtrade Premium—dollars that you personally contribute to when you make the simple choice of drinking 100% Fairtrade Certified coffee when you wake up every morning.

Want to know what specific Fairtrade co-op(s) your bag of beans support? Scan the QR code on the back of your next bag of coffee and follow your beans from crop to cup.

*Fairtrade co-op summaries kindly provided by Fairtrade Canada.

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