Producer Profiles

AGROCOEX - Companía Agropromotora del Cotopaxi

Compania Agropromotora del Cotopaxi (AGROCOEX S.A) is a rose plantation located in Cotapaxi province, 3.5 kilometers south of Rumipamba in Ecuador. The plantation is a family business with 149 employees including workers, office employees and management. AGROCOEX was founded by two brothers in 1988 and became Fair Trade Certified™ ten years later in 1998.

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.
 

Quotable

Our greatest desire is to provide our family with the security and wellbeing that comes with owning a home. With the purchase of the land for the housing program, the path to change in our lives and our families lives begins  

María Quishpe Maigua

The low-interest loan that I received allowed me to establish a small supplies store. With this supplies store, my wife’s income contributes to my entire family's wellbeing and also improves the standard of living for my children.  

Luís Guayanlema

I never thought that AGROCOEX could open doors for me. Thanks to the Fair Trade certification and the Committee of Community Development San Francisco - La Victoria for offering the student scholarship to me. I received my diploma and I am excited to continue studying until I get my engineering degree.  

Luis Casa, AGROCOEX Worker

Programs

Music for the Children

A new program was started by AGROCOEX to allow children to learn how to play musical instruments. Learning how to play music is seen as a way to help children develop psychologically as well as a way to teach children discipline and dedication. The members of AGROCOEX believe music can have a positive impact on the community by changing attitudes and changing the way people think and express themselves. The music program has given the children in the community enthusiasm for learning as well as a new way to express themselves.

Washing Machines Help Empower Women

AGROCOEX recognizes that women who realize their full potential are the key to achieving a higher standard of living. The organization helps provide women in the community with the tools and means to increase their independence. The importance of the participation of women in the development process of their families and the community is recognized and emphasized in various AGROCOEX forums. The Washing Machine Program gives women in the community access to semi-industrial washers and dryers in order to eliminate the old practice of washing clothing in natural water springs, which negatively impacted women’s health and also polluted the environment with water contamination. This is one of the programs started in order to give women more independence, allow them to optimize their time, and allow them to use their free time on activities that improve their lives.

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.