AGROCOEX - Companía Agropromotora del Cotopaxi
The owners of AGROCOEX are motivated to support women, indigenous people and people with disabilities, believing those groups are at the greatest disadvantage during times of social and economic difficulty. As such, AGROCOEX decided to confront these socio-economic issues within their own community by creating objectives that align with the ideals of social justice and Fair Trade.
As a company, AGROCOEX strives to create a safe and just working environment by working to increase the levels of education and well-being of workers, children and community members of its farms. One of the farm’s main governing principles is to foster a standard of living that promotes dignified living conditions for workers.
In 1998, AGROCOEX became Fair Trade Certified in order to establish prices that would cover the cost of sustainable production and fair wages. The workers enjoy participating in Fair Trade because Fair Trade premiums help them invest in projects and programs that they believe better their standard of living. AGROCOEX’s workers collectively decide the use of the community development premiums through a democratic and transparent manner during annual “premium committee” meetings.
From the management’s perspective, Fair Trade is attractive because consumers can buy products that agree with their values and principles. By buying Fair Trade Roses from AGROCOEX, consumers support the workers that fight to better their lives.
During all these years working for AGOCOEX, I have been able to develop as a woman, a mother, a wife, and a collaborator and integral part of the community. Thanks to the Fair Trade premium, I have had access to many benefits for myself, for my family, and for the members of my community. One of the benefits I have had access to is the micro loan program. To access this loan I only had to meet the established requirements. If I had gone to a bank, this loan would not have been possible because of the high interest rates and, because of my limited income; I am not allowed a line of credit at the bank. With the money I received from the Community Development Plan, I was able to install ceramic floor tiles in my house where there had previously been only dirt floors. I was also able to construct a study room for my son where he could successfully complete homework and study comfortably without having to share a room. The Fair Trade premium has touched my life and has changed and improved my family’s life. The standard of living for my family is now better. My son can now enjoy privacy and has an appropriate place to study and will be able to achieve great success in his education. Thank you, Fair Trade clients for alleviating poverty and allowing us to dream of better futures for our children ”
The low-interest loan that I received allowed me to establish a small supplies store. With this supplies store, my wife’s income contributes to my entire family's wellbeing and also improves the standard of living for my children. ”
Luis Casa, AGROCOEX Worker
The information systems course has helped me improve my level of understanding and personal development. This has also allowed me to complete my secondary studies and achieve a higher education with confidence in my capabilities. ”
Washing Machines Help Empower Women
AGROCOEX recognizes that women who realize their full potential are the key to achieving a higher standard of living. The organization helps provide women in the community with the tools and means to increase their independence. The importance of the participation of women in the development process of their families and the community is recognized and emphasized in various AGROCOEX forums. The Washing Machine Program gives women in the community access to semi-industrial washers and dryers in order to eliminate the old practice of washing clothing in natural water springs, which negatively impacted women’s health and also polluted the environment with water contamination. This is one of the programs started in order to give women more independence, allow them to optimize their time, and allow them to use their free time on activities that improve their lives.
The Joint Body invested Fair Trade premiums toward improving the conditions of childcare facilities for all workers' children.
The Joint Body approved the creation of information system workshops and internet access training for workers, workers' children, relatives and other interested community members. A System Engineer teaches the technology workshops and evaluates students weekly to guarantee their academic and personal improvement.
Scholarship Program for Workers
Fair Trade premiums help AGROCOEX workers complete their grade school educations. Often, adult workers do not complete grade school or high school before they start working to support their families. AGROCOEX workers have established a scholarship program, funded by community development premiums, for employees to complete schooling part time. The workers committee in charge of the program have established an agreement with the local education board, the Institución Radiofónico Fe y Alegría, to provide quality educational opportunities for the workers.