Producer Profiles

COSURCA - Cooperativa Del Sur del Cauca

Empresa Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca (COSURCA) is composed of 14 farmer associations and coffee cooperatives from four municipalities in Cauca, a mountainous province of southwestern Colombia. Founded in 1993, this organization has been seriously affected by armed extremist groups who value the area for its proximity to the jungle and abundant natural resources. Many farmers in the area have converted their coffee crops to more profitable, illegal ones while others have been threatened and displaced by armed groups. In contrast, Fair Trade Certified since 2001, COSURCA’s members have a strong organization and financial stability. Subsequently, COSURCA provides an important model for sustainable development in the region.

In spring 2005, 57 COSURCA members' farms were accidentally fumigated as part of a U.S.-funded cocaine eradication project called "Plan Colombia." Much of the farmers' corn and bean crops were devastated. Pineapple, banana, avocado and coffee plants were seriously affected. In addition, the spraying contaminated local waterways, degraded the soil and continues to threaten the biodiversity of the area. Perhaps most importantly for the farmers, the affected coffee farms lost their organic certification and must now wait years to reestablish it.


Since our organization gained Fair Trade certification, we have been able to invervene in the coffee production, allowing more fair conditions with regards to price and weight in the purchase of the coffee.  

Alcides Martinez

Fair Trade has been very important for our organization because through commercialization and production of Fair Trade certified products, we have been able to improve our organization and provide services for members, especially through loans, food security projects and improved processing.  

Eivar Meneses


Continuing the Tradition of Organic Cultivation

COSURCA maintained their organic certification by continuing the organic coffee production tradition that began in the area more than 100 years ago. Composting programs in several communities help generate organic fertilizer and reduce waste.

Credit Program for Farmers

COSURCA offers credit to members for a variety of projects, including marketing and processing coffee, production improvements, food security and planting and marketing papaya and other fruits. The credit funds are run by the organization and producers, and all loans are paid annually with Fair Trade premiums.

Funding Food Security and Community Sanitation

COSURCA operates a food security program which assures members have reliable sources of food. COSURCA has also improved community sanitation.