Producer Profiles

Cooperativa de Caficultores de Manizales

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

Promoting Women’s Empowerment

The committee of coffee producers is using Fair Trade premiums to increase awareness and gain support for women’s initiatives in the area. Through these programs, there will be an increase in women’s participation in the leadership of the organization. Women will be trained in the processes of management, human resources, empowerment, and coffee business.

Technical Assistance and Pest Mitigation

Environmental Management is of the utmost importance to producer members. Since fertilizers are used on the coffee plants, worker safety is a top priority. All producers are given suits to wear, and they learn about the health risks associated with these chemicals. The General Assembly took another precaution and mandated routine checkups to those providing these applications.

Health Care: Cardiovascular Risk

Many rural producers in the coffee business suffer from cardiovascular health issues. Manizales is using premium dollars to help reduce these heath issues from arising and affecting producers and their direct beneficiaries. Additionally, these routine check ups are the most effective way to test rural producers for cancer.