COOCAFE - Cooperativa dos Cafeicultores da Região de Lajinha
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.
Since 1999 Joao Paula de Carvalho has been a member of Coopfam. He lives with his wife and his daughters in a house he just finished building. For 39 years, Joao and his wife lived in an old house on the outskirts of Poco Fundo where they raised 5 children and dreamt of moving to a better neighborhood and bigger house. His dream seemed unattainable given the condition of a small farmer in the conventional market. Joao joined Coopfam and feels satisfied now as he realizes his dream. He has a better house and bought a car, but more importantly, he and his family feel they are working for a better world with a great respect for the environment and natural farming. "I am happy to be able to realize this dream. Since I got married I've been dreaming of building my house," said Joao in his testimonial about Fair Trade. Joao also built a barn to store their coffee before bringing it to the coop. They have their own drying patio and bought a car, all possible with the money they receive by selling in the fair trade market. ”
Joao Paula de Carvalho
Fair Trade has a lot of benefits because we sell the coffee at a better price and now agronomists come here to help and advise us. It helps pay for the coffee sacks that the cooperative provides us with. ”
Today Coocafe has over 4,000 members who are small producers. Fair Trade is very important for us. We received a large list from Fair Trade when we got certified in 2005. Today we have been Fair Trade certified for 5 years. ”
Fernando R. Cerqueira, Coocafe president
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.
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.
Health education on agrochemicals
Members and their children are taught about the safe handling of agrochemicals and PPEs.