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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

Before we didn't have an agronomist and today we do. This has helped improve the quality of our coffee substantially. It was only with the Fair Trade premium that we were able to contract these agronomists.  

Conceção pez de Costa, member

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

I hope the US consumer likes our product. We choose to make a good and healthy product. We like good things and want others to enjoy good things too.  

Irene Tavares Vega, member

Programs

Project Live Free

Project Live Free is a public program in the COOCAFE community that focuses on drug prevention as well as the recovery and social reintegration of former addicts.

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.