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Producer Profiles

COOCAFE - Cooperativa dos Cafeicultores da Região de Lajinha

COOCAFE was founded in 1979 in the city of Lajinha in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, to strengthen coffee planters of this region. Having faced many economic struggles throughout the years, farmers believed their cooperative was strong enough to keep its members’ spirits high. Today, the cooperative remains successful, determined and consistent in their product. It is located between the forest regions of Minas Gerais and the mountains of the Espírito Santo state. The climate is predominantly humid and the land sees a substantial amount of rainfall throughout the year. Most of the region is used for farming by families usually owning between five and ten hectares of land.

COOCAFE is one of several Brazilian producer groups participating in the Responsible Sourcing Partnership (RSP) project. The RSP project is a result of a partnership between USAID, Fair Trade USA, Walmart Stores, Inc. and SEBRAE-MG, designed to improve the quality of Brazilian coffee, increase market linkages and raise producer capacity. Through participation in the RSP project, COOCAFE has improved its infrastructure which has resulted in higher quality coffee, and has benefited from targeted training programs and increased contact with the U.S. coffee market.
 

Quotable

It was such a rewarding experience to hear the feedback from a consumer. They told us they liked our coffee - this was such a great moment!  

Fernando R. Cerqueira, president

Fair Trade has helped us with various things, with purchasing medicine and everything we need to purchase for the crops  

Irene Tavares Vega

While the price for our product is still a little low, our overall production costs have also lowered. The coffee sack project in particular has helped a lot. It benefits everyone, not just a few.  

Conceção pez de Costa, member

Programs

Garden project for environmental awareness

A garden project was developed in schools throughout the community to raise awareness about cooperativism, the environment and conscious consumption.

Educate women on coffee cultivation

The cooperative has established a regular meeting for the women of the community. These meetings provide women with courses on coffee cultivation, as well as alternative sources of income for their families.

6 agricultralists

The cooperative elected to invest their Fair Trade social premium in contracting 6 agriculturalists to provide consulting assistance to members looking to improve the quality of their crops. The cooperative also funded 6 motorcycles for the technical assistants.