Producer Profiles

COOPERVITAE - Agropecuária Orgânicos Nova Resende e Região

COOPERVITAE was founded by a small group of producers on July 13, 2001. The group became Fair Trade Certified™ in 2006 and has since grown dramatically. Members are enthusiastic about the benefits of Fair Trade and organic agriculture. They are working to become 100 percent organic.

There are 370 members in the cooperative. Twelve members, elected from different regions, meet at least once a month to make important decisions. There is also a yearly meeting with all producers. The cooperative produces about 20 containers of coffee per year. Four are organic and represent coffee from roughly twenty-five producers. Many producers are in transition to organic methods.

COOPERVITAE 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, COOPERVITAE participated in numerous trainings to improve coffee quality. The events and workshops included cooperative governance, business management, cupping and post-harvest best practices trainings.
 

Quotable

In 2004, a friend told me about a market system based on fairness and solidarity for organic and conventional coffee producers (Fair Trade). I was immediately interested because I had been looking for a way to commercialize my product without losing its value or affecting the environment negatively - things other organizations didn’t seem to pay attention to. As a producer and human being, I am worried about both of these issues because we course depend on the environment to grow quality products and this guarantees not only our livelihoods but those of generations to come.  

Oldemar Inacio da Lima , Coopervitae Member

Programs

Productivity and Environmental Conservation Analysis

COOPERVITAE financed a study of productivity, environmental conservation, input use and related issues.

Food Donations, Occupational Safety and English Programs

The cooperative donates fresh fruit and vegetables to local schools, daycares and hospitals. COOPERVITAE uses premium funds to teach proper handling and use of protective equipment when working with pesticides. COOPERVITAE used 2009 premium funds to provide English classes to several cooperative employees. The producers hope this investment will strengthen their direct relationships with English-speaking customers.

Lower Production Costs and Transportation Help

To help lower members' cost of production , the cooperative contracts a truck to transport coffee from farms to cooperative warehouses. COOPERVITAE also provides empty coffee sacks to its members.