Producer Profiles

UCOSEMUN - Cooperativas de Servicios Múltiples del Norte

The Unión de Cooperativas de Servicios Múltiples (UCOSEMUN) was founded in 1998 in Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua by eight cooperatives with the purpose of improving the lives of small coffee farmers. Coffee is their largest export, but many of the cooperatives also produce corn, beans and cattle for the national market. Since its inception, the cooperative has strived to increase their access to international markets, but producers were having difficulty exporting directly and were not receiving a fair price for their quality coffee. In 2008, UCOSEMUN decided to pursue Fair Trade certification and the cooperative has greatly benefited from Fair Trade's direct link to international markets.

Today, with over 14,000 members, UCOSEMUN has affected the lives of many producers and their families. Since receiving Fair Trade certification, each cooperative collaboratively discusses and votes on how they will spend their Fair Trade premium. As an organization, UCOSEMUN has invested in a wet and dry mill and warehouse that allows them to produce a higher quality product for export, saving them money in outsourcing these services. The organization also offers training in technical areas of quality control, as well as support throughout the growing process. Families are this able to produce greater yields and increase their incomes. Not only does UCOSEMUN present trainings on how to increase productivity, but the cooperative strives to practice sustainable farming techniques. UCOSEMUN has even opened agricultural stores to provide its members with access to farming tools other resources to take care of their harvests.
 

Quotable

The development of the cooperative has been crucial for all families here because we benefit from the services they provide. UCOSEMUN works to make an impact on member families in addition to respecting the environment and producing high quality products.  

Reiner Molina, Export and Import Coordinator

The challenges the communities of Nueva Segovia have faced are numerous, but they have also had the good fortune to initiate the cooperative UCOSEMUN under a just and sustainable model, such as Fair Trade.  

Reiner Molina, Export and Import Coordinator

Programs

Wet Mill Investment

The cooperative invested in improving the conditions of their coffee processing facility. They purchased a wet mill to improve quality and consistency. By having this technology, they can produce a better end product and receive a higher price, which provides greater income for producers and their families.

Training for Producers

UCOSEMUN uses some of the Fair Trade premium they receive to provide training for their members. They offer trainings on standards and certification, as well as best harvest practices so producers are able to maintain a high quality crop. They have technical assistants that support producers by visiting the different communities and giving workshops on sustainable agricultural techniques.