GRAPOS - Grupo de Asesores de Producción Orgánica y Sustentables
GRAPOS provides essential services to its members including access to finance, technical assistance and community development programs. According to the organization, Fair Trade has helped them become more organized. Some of the most recent examples include programs developed with support from Fair Trade Premiums –such as a women’s knitting program or mushroom cultivation project as additional sources of family income. Please continue reading about other recent Fair Trade premium use.
With Fair Trade certification, we have learned how to better organize ourselves. There are groups of women now working in an organized manner too; they are an example to be followed in our region. ”
Jorge Verdugo Mendez
Crop Diversification – Mushrooms!
Likewise, a group of women producers and wives of producers from the Los Alpes community formed the group “Mujeres Los Alpes.” This group decided to grow mushrooms for local consumption as another source of income.
Recovery from Rust: Plant Renovation and Disease Prevention
The coffee rust disease outbreak affected GRAPOS severely, and the organization voted to invest a large sum of their premium funds in a program to mitigate and prevent the disease's long-term effects. The organization is replanting affected crops and taking preventative measures on those that survived. Producers have received organic inputs and technical assistant packets, as well as access to several new nurseries for renovation purposes. An estimated 2,600 producers will benefit.
A Savings and Loan Bank
When GRAPOS first began receiving the Fair Trade Premium in 2009, the general assembly assessed the organization’s needs and weaknesses and decided creating a Savings Bank was the top priority. Today, Fair Trade premiums are still used to finance this service, invaluable to producers when income levels are especially low or scarce after the harvest.