AGROCOEX - Companía Agropromotora del Cotopaxi
The owners of AGROCOEX are motivated to support women, indigenous people and people with disabilities, believing those groups are at the greatest disadvantage during times of social and economic difficulty. As such, AGROCOEX decided to confront these socio-economic issues within their own community by creating objectives that align with the ideals of social justice and Fair Trade.
As a company, AGROCOEX strives to create a safe and just working environment by working to increase the levels of education and well-being of workers, children and community members of its farms. One of the farm’s main governing principles is to foster a standard of living that promotes dignified living conditions for workers.
In 1998, AGROCOEX became Fair Trade Certified in order to establish prices that would cover the cost of sustainable production and fair wages. The workers enjoy participating in Fair Trade because Fair Trade premiums help them invest in projects and programs that they believe better their standard of living. AGROCOEX’s workers collectively decide the use of the community development premiums through a democratic and transparent manner during annual “premium committee” meetings.
From the management’s perspective, Fair Trade is attractive because consumers can buy products that agree with their values and principles. By buying Fair Trade Roses from AGROCOEX, consumers support the workers that fight to better their lives.
One of the problems that affect the majority of the people in our town is cavities, which people do not bother with or notice until they are in pain and have to get the tooth pulled. People are affected because they not only lose teeth, but also they get headaches and pain – it is uncomfortable and also causes low self-esteem. With our premium funded dentistry center, our families and the community can access a dentist with the best equipment – all at their workplace! ”
Amparito Chancusig, post harvest worker AGROCOEX
My parents, because of their precarious economic situation, were not able to support my education. Thanks to the student scholarship I was able to secure financing for my education. With much effort and always thinking about how I was an example for my peers and for my family, I was able to graduate with high honors. Today, I feel more secure, my self esteem has increased, and I am going to continue my studies at university to gain a professional title and secure my future. ”
One of the problems that affects a huge part of our community is tooth decay, which is given little importance until the decay advances enough to warrant tooth removal. Not only is a tooth lost, but it bring headaches, jaw aches, general bad health, and low self esteem among other problems. With the dentistry center, our families and the community have access to dental healthcare in the workplace and with high quality materials ”
Scholarship Program for Workers
Fair Trade premiums help AGROCOEX workers complete their grade school educations. Often, adult workers do not complete grade school or high school before they start working to support their families. AGROCOEX workers have established a scholarship program, funded by community development premiums, for employees to complete schooling part time. The workers committee in charge of the program have established an agreement with the local education board, the Institución Radiofónico Fe y Alegría, to provide quality educational opportunities for the workers.
Acess to Microloans
This year, $13,770 was given out in microloans. There are rules and a formalized agreement that outline the delivery of resources, interest, and repayment. All AGROCOEX workers have the opportunity to receive loans to construct homes, complete home improvement projects, and to invest in their small businesses.
New Dentistry Center
Fair Trade premiums funded a dentistry center to create greater access to health services for Fair Trade workers. The dentistry center was completely planned, funded, and implemented by a worker’s committee set up to oversee usage of community development funds earned through Fair Trade sales.