Producer Profiles

UCA San Juan

Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarias de San Juan del Río Coco is a second level coffee cooperative in San Juan del Río Coco, a primarily coffee producing community in the northeastern region of Nicaragua. As a second level coffee cooperative, the Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarias de San Juan del Río Coco (or UCA San Juan for short), means it is the umbrella organization for eight smaller coffee cooperatives, providing services to a total of 420 small coffee farmers, 80 of which are women.

Griselda Jarquín Lopez, UCA San Juan's General Manager, started working with the cooperative in 2002 as an intern while still in school, at age 17. After volunteering for several years and forming strong relationships with producers and staff, the predominately male general assembly voted to give Griselda a permanent and paying position within the organization. Everything she was tasked with, she learned and excelled. Producers trusted her and communicated their needs to her as if she were family. To this day, Griselda leaves her desk to visit producers in the fields, making sure to never lose sight of why she’s working for the cooperative in the first place.

Today, there are four women working at UCA San Juan with a total staff count of 16. Under Griselda's leadership, they work to sell their member’s coffee, find new and lasting markets, help producers improve production, and implement social programs and capacity building workshops that have a positive impact on farmers, their families and the community. Griselda is particularly proud she can help implement social programs targeting women's health and sexual education, much needed in the community.
 

Quotable

Through the replanting of coffee plants, I’ve been able to replace the unproductive plants to improve production to my lot.  

Modesta Vanegas, member since 2002

Programs

Construction to promote Healthy Workspaces

Premiums have also been used towards the purchase of construction materials for the common areas members share. To ensure better working conditions and a healthy environment, the small holder producers benefit from the newly constructed communal areas- including a new cupping room.

Coffee Rust Mitigation

A large percentage of Fair Trade Premium is used towards replanting of coffee plants for those affected by rust or older coffee trees. These additional inputs have resulted in an increase of coffee production for all members.