The Cooperativa de Caficultores de Manizales is a coffee producer organization founded in 1960 as the commercial partner and business representative for almost four thousand members in the municipalities of Manizales, Chinchina, Manzanares, Neira, Samana, Victoria, Palestina, Marquetalia, Villamaria, Marulanda and Pensilvania in the Department of Caldas, Colombia. The organization offers a variety of services based on the principles of cooperative participation and competitiveness. It aims to provide farmers with fair prices and to have a positive effect on each member’s quality of life as well as for their families and the rural communities in which they live. As of August 2013, ninety-three percent of members are small landowners who work independently and whose total income is dependent on agricultural activity. At least half of the organization’s coffee is sold as Fair Trade, all of which is produced by farming families from eleven municipalities within Colombia’s Caldas Department in the central west. The organization takes pride in offering the world Colombian coffee, a country recognized globally as a leader in production and quality. This can be attributed to the ideal climate, geographical and geological conditions and relatively short harvest periods Colombia embodies –it is one of, if not the only, countries to offer coffee throughout the entire year. Farmers at the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Manizales have developed “grain by grain” techniques for each step of the harvest and hold on to these processes despite new technologies for mass agricultural industrialization.
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