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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

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.

Women's Microfinance Program

UCPCO has created women’s groups to encourage savings and investment in micro-enterprise.

Educational Scholarships

UCPCO funded educational scholarships for the children of their farmer members. These scholarships can be used for all educational levels, from primary to university, and give farmers’ children an opportunity that they may not have received without the money from Fair Trade Premiums.