COOPETARRAZU - Cooperativa Caficultores y Servicios Tarrazu
In 2006, the cooperative established the Coffee Culture Quality of Life Sustainability Plan to track their environmental impact, implement better practices and create a culture of environmental respect among members and children. Using Fair Trade premiums, COOPETARRAZU has developed programs that provide training, capacity building and environmental leadership classes for its members. They aim to raise awareness of ecosystems using a strong educational curriculum for both adults and children.
Through the Quality of Life Sustainability Plan, COOPETARRAZU provides free soil analyses to its members. Traditionally, farmers use the same fertilizers as their neighbors, but customized soil analyses show farmers the impact topography and surrounding ecosystems have on their soil. Farmers in turn learn to adjust their practices according to their specific soil needs. Community youth participate by conducting environmental impact research and developing educational programs based on the tracking of birds and insect populations, learning about the important role these species play in coffee production and ecosystem maintenance.
The organization’s significant efforts to fundamentally change the way their community members consider and treat the environment has had incredible outcomes for farmers and their children. Fair Trade USA recognizes COOPETARRAZU for their profound commitment to conserving the health of the environment, managing waste and their conscious consumption of natural resources.
Fair Trade premium has a positive impact not only on producers but also on their families and communities. 48% of the population who live in Tarrazú and León Cortés regions, receives economic benefit by selling their coffee at a premium price. Current benefits are injected into the local economy where more people are affected by the creation on more jobs and services. This is a virtuous circle that is only possible with the support of Fair Trade ”
Ricardo Hernandez – Coffee Manager at COOPETARRAZU
Training and Technical Assistance
COOPETARRAZU’s General Assembly decided to fund a preventive program against coffee rust. COOPETARRAZU’s technicians visited farms and provided onsite training on best agricultural practices for sustainable coffee production. Infected plants were replaced and the use of natural fertilizers contributed greatly to eliminate the disease. With the implementation of this program, COOPETARRAZU was able to harvest the largest amount of coffee in the last years
Organic Fertilizer Donation
COOPETARRAZÚ invested $114,233 of the premium to distribute 50,000 bags of organic fertilizer to the cooperative’s producers. This is part of a 4-year, $400,000 project beginning in 2013. The process of erosion has greatly affected productivity. The organic material from the fertilizer helps restore soil fertility. In order to achieve one of the cooperative’s main strategies – raising per-hectare productivity – they are conducting training and engineering visits to farms. Additionally, in collaboration with the Coffee Institute and other organizations, COOPETARRAZÚ is testing out new varieties of coffee that offer higher productivity, disease resistance, and in particular, quality cup scores. This project not only benefits members, but additionally producers in the community that are not members have requested visits from the cooperative’s engineers, with the potential to reach an impact of 23,000 producers in the region.