Producer Profiles

COAPRO - Cooperativa El Progreso Los Andes y Guatinaja

The Cooperativa Agrícola El Progreso Fincas Los Andes y Guatinaja (COAPRO) is made up of three banana farms: El Progreso, Los Andes and Gautinaja. The group was formed as a result of agrarian reform in the banana growing sector of Urabá in Colombia. Throughout the years, with economic and production crises and political instability, several banana companies transformed themselves into farmer-owned operations. As a result, 29 ex-workers of the Gautinaja plantation became landowners and administrators of their own farms and diffused the economic responsibility of the plantation to each landowner. In 1997, those 29 workers formed COAPRO. The cooperative purchased Finca Los Andes in 2008 and extended the cooperative’s rights and benefits to at least 75 additional farm workers.
 

Quotable

In spite of the occasional production loss, workers were very motivated by the fact that all of the cooperative’s payments continue - we have a reliable network for social security through Fair Trade.  

Marisol Cuadrado, El Progreso Administrative Assis

Programs

Social Program Security

In 2010, COAPRO lost 70 percent of their production due to plagues arising from floods in the region. Thanks to Fair Trade premiums, the cooperative was able to continue funding their educational and productive programs. Twenty additional farmers benefited from Fair Trade premium-funded scholarships this year. Additionally, all expenses from ongoing infrastructural programs were paid without delay.

Environmental Improvements

COAPRO members used Fair Trade premiums to pay for a water recirculation plant. The plant uses low amounts of energy to reduce the amount of new water going into banana production. The water that rotates through the system is treated at the plant before making its way back to the fields. This improvement benefits the environment and community by reducing the levels of potable water usage.