COCLA - Central de Cooperativas Agrarias Cafetaleras
It used to take months for industry news to travel to cooperative members residing within the 35 kilometer (22 miles) region. We’d share news through personal visits, word-of-mouth and letters. Now, [with the radio show The Cooperative Voice, partly funded by Fair Trade Premiums], far more detailed information can be communicated, and at a much faster pace. ”
Manuel Echegaray, COCLA cooperative officer
If we did not have Fair Trade we would not have adequate resources to overcome the coffee crisis. We hope that with Fair Trade we will continue to receive a stable price for our coffee, thereby enabling us to continue investing in the quality of our product. ”
Guillermo Aquilar Lozano, ex President of COCLA
I want to thank the consumer for making the decision to buy products with the Fair Trade seal because this means they recognize the work of the small farmer. This decision as a consumer is changing the lives of many people. It gives producers hope to continue improving their lives and provide better options for themselves and their children, such as better houses, access to education and health care. These basic services are very difficult to get here in Peru. The producers work with great care to always try to produce a better product. ”
Carmen León Mamnia, COCLA Manager
Quality Control Labs
A multiyear plan to construct a quality control lab at each of the 22 base cooperatives was initiated. So far, five quality labs been completed.
Reforestation, Nutrition and Organic Agriculture Funding
The cooperative has implemented various educational and environmental projects, including the creation of a technical school, which is open to all community members. The cooperative offers a variety of trainings, workshops, internships, courses to farmers to educate them in the latest agricultural techniques, organic farming practices and even family nutrition. Premium funds have specifically helped fund a reforestation project, training for members in organic agriculture, and a crop diversification project that significantly improves the nutrition of farming families and provides them with an additional source of income.
Distribution to Cooperative Members
As a second grade cooperative, COCLA works for the interests of over 23 member cooperatives - or smaller associations of farmers. When deciding the use of premium funds, COCLA's cooperative members often decide that investment monies should be distributed and managed at local level (instead of from COCLA's head offices in Lima). In 2007, the COCLA General Assembly voted to redistribute over $280,000 to its 23 member cooperatives. These organizations then decide individually how to best invest premium funds in their own communities.