Producer Profiles

UCPCO - Unión de Cooperativas Productores de Café Orgánico

Since 1991 the Unión de Cooperativas Multifuncional Productoras de Café (UCPCO) has been dedicated to producing and selling high-quality organic coffee while supporting the organizational and community development of its five member cooperatives. Although the Madriz, Nicaragua-based group faced initial challenges from unsupportive governmental policies regarding cooperatives, the decision to become a Fair Trade Certified cooperative in 1994 strengthened UCPCO’s connections to the international market allowing them to sell more coffee at better prices. As organic producers, UCPCO members place great importance on protecting the environment, upholding sustainable agricultural practices and earning fair coffee prices that enable the cooperative to stand by its mission of organic agriculture. In addition, the quality of life for UCPCO’s 318 farmers (218 men and 100 women) has significantly improved since earning Fair Trade Certification. UCPCO ensures honesty and transparency in all relations, democratic participation from its members, and solidarity between the organization, community and individual farmers.

They are located in the San Juan del Río Coco region of Northern-Central Nicaragua, approximately six hours from the capital. In the fertile mountains of the Río Coco region, UCPCO farmers are growing high-quality coffee and earning Fair Trade and Organic price premiums for their efforts.
 

Quotable

The price we receive from Fair Trade coffee has changed my life but more importantly my children’s opportunities. Now, the organic training and capacity-building investments afforded by the increased price has prepared this family of farmers for the future.  

Teresa Muñoz, UCPCO Member

“Fair Trade isn’t only fair in the prices for coffee but also in the quality of life of cooperative members; everyday my family’s life is greatly improving. Now I have security, comfort and privacy. This is the quality of life that we deserve as family coffee farmers that we can now have by selling out product for a fair price.”  

Ramón Isidro Medina Acuña

Programs

UCPCO Members Construct Better Homes

UCPCO members have been able to invest Fair Trade premiums to rebuild homes, providing safe living conditions for themselves and their families. Members like Corina Ramírez used to live in a house with wooden walls, a dirt floor, and a tarp roof. Since it’s reconstruction she now has brick walls, a concrete floor, and a tin roof.

Education Scholarships

UCPCO used premium money to award scholarships to members' children. Students got scholarships for elementary school, high school, technical school, and college. In a community where many small farmers don't have enough money to send their children to school, this is a huge contribution to their families.

Medicine donations

UCPCO donated medicine to community health centers in the municipality of San Juan del Rio Coco. In addition, the cooperative coordinates with the Department of Health to allocate aid money, state money and money from their own medical fund to health care initiatives in the region.