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.
On the weekends I used all my free time to wash clothes in a traditional manner that negatively affected my health, contaminated water, and did not allow me to enjoy my free time. Now that I can bring my families clothes to be washed and dried during work hours, I can also enjoy the weekends with my family. I enjoy this time to grow as a person, a wife and a mother. ”
As a father, my greatest hope is to provide for my family with security and wellbeing, and that means to own our own home. With the purchase of land for our housing plan begins the road to the change in our lives and of our families. ”
One of the problems that affect the majority of the people in our town is cavities, which people do not bother with or notice until they are in pain and have to get the tooth pulled. People are affected because they not only lose teeth, but also they get headaches and pain – it is uncomfortable and also causes low self-esteem. With our premium funded dentistry center, our families and the community can access a dentist with the best equipment – all at their workplace! ”
Amparito Chancusig, post harvest worker AGROCOEX
Acess to Microloans
This year, $13,770 was given out in microloans. There are rules and a formalized agreement that outline the delivery of resources, interest, and repayment. All AGROCOEX workers have the opportunity to receive loans to construct homes, complete home improvement projects, and to invest in their small businesses.
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.
Low-Interest Micro Loans
Fair Trade premiums fund a worker microcredit program which provides employees with low-interest, short-term loans. These loans may be used for housing construction, home improvements, personal business investment or as a guarantee for an additional credit line with a local bank.
New Dentistry Center
Fair Trade premiums funded a dentistry center to create greater access to health services for Fair Trade workers. The dentistry center was completely planned, funded, and implemented by a worker’s committee set up to oversee usage of community development funds earned through Fair Trade sales.