Producer Profiles

Cooperativa de Caficultores de Manizales

A Manizales producer shows his new coffee seedlings, financed by Fair Trade premiums.
Above producers participate in an environmental workshop, also financed by Fair Trade premiums.
The Cooperativa de Caficultores de Manizales is a coffee producer organization founded in 1960 as the commercial partner and business representative for almost four thousand members in the municipalities of Manizales, Chinchina, Manzanares, Neira, Samana, Victoria, Palestina, Marquetalia, Villamaria, Marulanda and Pensilvania in the Department of Caldas, Colombia.

The organization offers a variety of services based on the principles of cooperative participation and competitiveness. It aims to provide farmers with fair prices and to have a positive effect on each member’s quality of life as well as for their families and the rural communities in which they live.

As of August 2013, ninety-three percent of members are small landowners who work independently and whose total income is dependent on agricultural activity. At least half of the organization’s coffee is sold as Fair Trade, all of which is produced by farming families from eleven municipalities within Colombia’s Caldas Department in the central west.

The organization takes pride in offering the world Colombian coffee, a country recognized globally as a leader in production and quality. This can be attributed to the ideal climate, geographical and geological conditions and relatively short harvest periods Colombia embodies –it is one of, if not the only, countries to offer coffee throughout the entire year. Farmers at the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Manizales have developed “grain by grain” techniques for each step of the harvest and hold on to these processes despite new technologies for mass agricultural industrialization.
 

Quotable

The organization’s general goals for the use of their Fair Trade premium include: 1. To promote the sustainable development and empowerment of its members 2. Design strategies for activities that will develop efficient and sustainable production processes and 3. Reduce the level of unmet needs of small producers offering social and economic welfare, in addition to the healthy development of the organization as a whole.  

Organization’s 2013 Fair Trade Premium Work Plan

Programs

Environmental Education, Training and Technical Assistance

In partnership with SENA, a local institute that promotes education and career development, producers are trained on proper agrochemical use, waste management, soil upkeep and machinery maintenance.

Environmentally-Friendly Farming Practices

To maintain and/or regenerate natural soil fertility, the cooperative encourages members to practice shade-grown methods, undergo regular soil analyses, and incorporate organic and compost-based fertilizers.
Members benefit from regular soil pH and fertility examinations, which enable them to make well-informed decisions on fertilizer use.