Producer Profiles

COOCAFE - Cooperativa dos Cafeicultores da Região de Lajinha

COOCAFE was founded in 1979 in the city of Lajinha in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, to strengthen coffee planters of this region. Having faced many economic struggles throughout the years, farmers believed their cooperative was strong enough to keep its members’ spirits high. Today, the cooperative remains successful, determined and consistent in their product. It is located between the forest regions of Minas Gerais and the mountains of the Espírito Santo state. The climate is predominantly humid and the land sees a substantial amount of rainfall throughout the year. Most of the region is used for farming by families usually owning between five and ten hectares of land.

COOCAFE is one of several Brazilian producer groups participating in the Responsible Sourcing Partnership (RSP) project. The RSP project is a result of a partnership between USAID, Fair Trade USA, Walmart Stores, Inc. and SEBRAE-MG, designed to improve the quality of Brazilian coffee, increase market linkages and raise producer capacity. Through participation in the RSP project, COOCAFE has improved its infrastructure which has resulted in higher quality coffee, and has benefited from targeted training programs and increased contact with the U.S. coffee market.
 

Quotable

It was such a rewarding experience to hear the feedback from a consumer. They told us they liked our coffee - this was such a great moment!  

Fernando R. Cerqueira, president

In response to the Question, "What would you say to a US consumer of your coffee?"
Irene says: "I hope they like our product. We choose to make a good product, a healthy product. We like good things and we want others to enjoy good things as well."  

Irene Tavares Vega

Today Coocafe has over 4,000 members who are small producers. Fair Trade is very important for us. We received a large list from Fair Trade when we got certified in 2005. Today we have been Fair Trade certified for 5 years.  

Fernando R. Cerqueira, Coocafe president

Programs

Health education on agrochemicals

Members and their children are taught about the safe handling of agrochemicals and PPEs.

Grant for Coffee Sacks

COOCAFE subsidized the total costs of coffee sacks for its members. The cooperative gave sacks to each member in accordance with how much coffee they were selling through the cooperative.

Technical assistance for development

Coocafé invests an average of $350,000 in courses, lectures and technical assistance to enhance the technological development of member’s farms and improve product quality.