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Fair Trade Certified Peruvian Coffee Wins People's Choice Award
04/28/2010
Attendees at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's 22nd Annual Symposium & Exposition Tasted and Voted CECOVASA Cooperative as Producers of the Top Coffee

OAKLAND, CA, (April 28, 2010) - TransFair USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, congratulates the Fair Trade Certified™ CECOVASA Coffee Cooperative of Peru for winning top honors in the 2010 Roasters Guild Coffees of the Year Competition at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) 22nd Annual Exposition & Symposium, April 16 – 18, 2010 in Anaheim, Calif.  CECOVASA’s coffee was awarded best Peruvian coffee of the year, and was then selected for the People's Choice Award. The People's Choice Award was determined after the SCAA Exposition coffee industry attendees tasted and voted upon the nine origin winners.

The winning coffee was produced by CECOVASA cooperative member Wilson Sucaticona of Tunki, Peru under Fair Trade standards, which require farmers to meet strict social, economic and environmental guidelines set by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). In return, these small-scale farmers receive fair prices, community development funds, access to credit and more direct access to international coffee-trading markets.

“We are so proud that the coffee selected for the People’s Choice Award came from a Fair Trade Certified cooperative,” said Paul Rice, President and CEO of TransFair USA. “The odds have been stacked against these small-scale family farmers for many years; yet this is an example of how Fair Trade empowers farmers to take control of their production as they invest in quality improvement.  They have worked extremely hard and could not be more deserving of this recognition.”

CECOVASA was founded in 1970, when a group of indigenous coffee farmers in the Lake Titicaca region of Peru came together to find a better way to sell their coffee. Until then, these farmers sold their beans to intermediaries, who typically paid less than half the market price. Today, the cooperative is so strong that the intermediaries no longer work in the area.

Fair Trade prices and community development funds have enabled CECOVASA to establish various social and productive programs, including funding for education, and the development of programs to promote women’s leadership and empowerment.  Additionally, the cooperative built a cupping laboratory and instituted a quality-control training program and purchased new farming equipment, including 40 de-pulping machines, 1,000 pruning saws, and three humidity scales.  These investments were critical in the production of Mr. Sucaticona’s prize-winning coffee.

“This coffee stole the show at the competition; people could not stop talking about it,” said Wendy De Jong, Vice President and Director of Coffee for Tony's Coffee of Bellingham WA.  “Although the sample was specially prepared for the competition, it really shows what is possible when quality is the goal.”

“Winning the People’s Choice Award at SCAA is, to us, the most important award in the world.  It represents many years of hard work and a focus on improving the quality of our coffee so that it is competitive. It is an example of the great strides that can be made with the financial support and market connections that Fair Trade fosters,” said Miguel Paz, Commercial Manager at CECOVASA. “We are so grateful for the support and encouragement from TransFair USA, and we are proud to accept this award as a symbol of what all Fair Trade cooperatives have the potential to achieve.”

Supplying U.S. roasters with more than 27 million pounds of green coffee in 2009, Peru was the leading origin of Fair Trade Certified coffee imports.

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About TransFair USA
TransFair USA, a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. TransFair USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages. TransFair USA educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farmers with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit www.transfairusa.org for more information.