UNIPCAFEM is one of fifteen Brazilian Fair Trade Certified producer groups that participated in the 2007-2010 Responsible Sourcing Partnership (RSP) project. The RSP project is a result of a partnership between USAID, Fair Trade USA, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and SEBRAE-MG designed to improve the quality of Brazilian coffee, increase market linkages and raise producer capacity. Through the partnership UNIPCAFEM participated in cooperative governance trainings, business management trainings, cupper trainings and post-harvest best practices trainings to improve coffee quality.
Through the RSP project, UNIPCAFEM successfully secured funding for 25 paved drying patios. This basic infrastructure improvement will help UNIPCAFEM members continue to improve their post-harvest handling practices and the final flavor of their coffee.
Also, UNIPCAFEM members took first and second place in the Natural Coffee category in the 2009 Fair Trade Certified Cupping Competition. UNIPCAFEM producer Sebastião Reguim took first place and UNIPCAFEM President Guido Reguim Filho placed second. The one-two sweep in this year's cupping competition is a strong testament to UNIPCAFEM's successful commitment to coffee quality.
Recently we were sought out by the principal of the Dos Martins Community School. She told us that after the UNIPCAFEM’s computer lab was created, school attendance on computer lab days is always 100 percent. Hearing this was very rewarding for us because we were able to see that we are using a part of our Fair Trade premium in an effective way—helping make education attractive and possible for the community's children. ”
Guido Reguim Filho, Unipcafem President
Agronomist Hired for Technical Training and Education
UNIPCAFEM is using its 2009 Fair Trade premium to contract an agronomist to support UNIPCAFEM during the upcoming harvest season. The agronomist will be a valuable resource for the group to verify the utilization of best practices, and to provide additional quality training and agronomy education to UNIPCAFEM's members.
Education Programs: Computer Lab and School Uniforms and Supplies
UNIPCAFEM has a very close relationship with the public school that serves the children in its rural community. UNIPCAFEM provides school uniforms for all of the children in the community. UNIPCAFEM also provides winter coats and school supplies to children in the community with greater economic need, so they too can be warm and comfortable during the school day. UNIPCAFEM built a computer laboratory for the school and offers computer skills classes to adult members and their children.
Natural Medicine Program for Community
The cooperative helped establish a natural medicine program for the community.
Environmental Interest Scholarships for Schoolchildren
UNIPCAFEM finances and awards a small prize each year for schoolchildren who show special interest in the environment.