União dos Pequenos Agricultores de Santana da Vargem (UNIPASV) is a coffee cooperative in the state of Minas Gerais in Southeastern Brazil. In order to overcome credit and loan barriers, the small-scale producers in the community united and formed a cooperative in 2000. UNIPASV earned Fair Trade certification in 2003 and made its first Fair Trade sale to the U.S. in 2004. In 2000, 80 percent of UNIPASV's members were sharecroppers. Through increased income from Fair Trade sales and participation in several programs sponsored by the Brazilian government, many of UNIPASV's members have been able to purchase land. Today 90 percent of UNIPASV's members are landowners! UNIPASV producer Gilmar Donizete Oliveira is pictured in the photo on the left. UNIPASV is one of fifteen Brazilian Fair Trade Certified™ producer groups that participated in the 2007-2010 Responsible Sourcing Partnership (RSP) project. The RSP project is a result of a partnership between USAID, TransFair USA, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and SEBRAE-MG designed to improve the quality of Brazilian coffee, increase market linkages and raise producer capacity. Through the partnership, UNIPASV participated in numerous trainings to improve coffee quality. The events and workshops included cooperative governance, business management, cupping and post-harvest best practices trainings.
Santana da Vargem