I’ve been a member of Manduvirá Cooperative for three years, producing sugarcane and now sesame too. At the moment I’m weeding my sesame; I planted it with the money I got from the Fair Trade premium. It’s really important because the income for that comes when there isn’t any money from sugarcane. I’m on my own, a single mother – there’s no one I can ask for money. The Fair Trade money came just when I needed it and I’m using it where I need to.
I’m the secretary of the local committee in my community, 25 de Diciembre. There are 29 members and every year we elect a new president, secretary and treasurer. Only two of the members are women, and some of the men are getting on a bit…sometimes you have to say things four or five times for them to take it on board! My job is to take minutes, and if anything’s missing at the meeting I bring it. Today I’m bringing a folder to the cooperative with the names and ages of all the children. The cooperative uses some of the Fair Trade premium to buy school kits, clothes and medicines to give out to the children of the members. You can see there really is a need, they don’t have anything. Some families have eight or nine children. Without the kits, they can still go to school but they’re all over the place – if the teacher says ‘do this and bring it for tomorrow’ they just can’t.
I really like Fairtrade, that’s why I’m working within it and I will be until I die. What would I say to consumers? Please buy! We are working hard and making sure there’s no chemical contamination. Our plan to have a factory in the future is really important. It will be good for a lot of people.
Cooperativa Producción Agroindustrial Manduvirá LTDa