Federacion Campesina del Cauca (FCC) was founded in 1971. It currently has 630 members, farmers of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian origin who live in Cauca, the Southwest region of Colombia. Prior to the creation of the Federacion Campesinas del Cauca, the coffee growers in this area produced very low quality coffee beans, used mostly in instant coffee. Coffee was sold for very low prices and provided little income for the producers. With the help of national and international organizations and governments, FCC created a development plan and received training on how to produce higher quality coffee for markets in the U.S. and Europe. Becoming Fair Trade CertifiedTM has impacted the producers greatly by offering them access to markets in the United States and Europe. Working together, the group has strengthened the vision of the cooperative, focusing on its social and environmental values. The Fair Trade model has generated increased self esteem because the cooperative members have direct contact with their clients. There has been a shift in attitude of the producers as a result. They now are very focused on quality and consistency and are much more responsible with how they regulate themselves. They are proud to see their products in specialty markets. By being Fair Trade Certified and having a direct line to markets, the production process has changed and is more consolidated. They have a permanent presence in the communities and are able to provide more services to the cooperative members. The cooperative is working towards training its members and reinvesting premium money in nurseries to grow new plants that will be more productive than the current old plants. Additionally, they are also developing technical assistance workshops to provide support in producing higher quality cherries. In the future they hope to use their Fair Trade premium money to educate the children of cooperative members about the cooperative so they feel connected to and understand the vision for the future. They also want to implement health and family development programs for association members.
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