Producer Profiles

COOPFAM - Coop dos Agricultores Familiares de Poço Fundo

Cooperativa dos Agricultores Familiares de Poço Fundo e Região LTDA (Coopfam) is an association of small-scale farmers located in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. Coopfam was formed from a collective desire to improve the living standard of farmers and to reduce poverty and emigration. In 1991, 76 families united to form the cooperative, determined to increase the productivity of their small plots and to sustain the quality of family-oriented agriculture in the region. Coopfam was Fair Trade Certified™ by Fairtrade International (FLO) in 1998 and began exporting to the U.S. in 2003.

Coopfam is one of fifteen Brazilian Fair Trade Certified producer groups that participated in the 2007-2010 Responsible Sourcing Partnership (RSP) project. The RSP project designed to improve the quality of Brazilian coffee, increase market linkages and raise producer capacity. Through the project, Coopfam participated in cooperative governance trainings, business management trainings, cupper trainings and post-harvest best practices trainings to improve coffee quality.

The Fair Trade premium has enabled Coopfam to establish various productive and social programs. Among many projects, Coopfam has hired an agricultural technician to help with production and quality, improved their administrative capabilities with new office equipment, strengthened their health care program and developed an education program that teaches computer skills.
 

Quotable

Fair Trade and organic certification have given us the ability to grow coffee the way it should be grown - sustainably and making sure we are creating a quality product. Our families are fed, our children are in school, and we can focus on producing coffee and preserving the environment.  

Marcelo Paiva Gonçalves, president of Coopfam

I'm happy to have been able to accomplish this dream. Since I got married, I’ve been dreaming of building my own house. This dream was made possible with Fair Trade.  

João Paula de Carvalho, cooperative member

Programs

Premiums used to purchase new office equipment

Coopfam has designated some of its premium funds toward administrative improvements. They purchased computers, printers, a fax machine and office furniture. This equipment improves supply management and marketing opportunities. Coopfam also built an additional office building, where meetings and trainings are held.

Senior Citizen Home

Coopfam members manage a community farm with a house that serves as a senior citizens home. All profits from the farm are reinvested back in the home, covering food, medicine, cleaning supplies and electricity.

New health care services

Coopfam invests in a partnership with a health care provider to offer basic health coverage for its members. They are broadening their coverage to also include members' families. Services include access to general practitioners, gynecologists, eye care and dental visits. By being members of Coopfam, the organization estimates that members spend 70 percent less on health care.