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.
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