FREEDOM COFFEE – Guatemala, Fedecocagua CO-OP.
£7.50 – £23.95 — available on subscription
TASTING NOTES: MILK CHOCOLATE / CARAMEL / CASHEW
Established in 1969, FEDECOCAGUA is a cooperative organization with around 20,000 members. Seventy percent of co-op members are members of indigenous groups from various regions of Guatemala, including Huehuetenango, Cobán, Verapaces, Retalhuleu, San Marcos, and Zacapa.
FEDECOCAGUA say its goals as a cooperative are the same as when it was founded in 1969: “to achieve better market opportunities for small coffee producers and improve the living standards of their families. We achieve this by putting into practice the principles of team work, creativity, innovation, social responsibility and respect for nature.
FEDECOCAGUA members, 70% of whom are indigenous people, are spread over different regions of Guatemala including Huehuetenango, Cobán, Verapaces, Retalhuleu, San Marcos, and Zacapa. These rural areas are characterised by difficult economic conditions and poor infrastructure, particularly roads, electricity, communication, health, and education.
Coffee is the main cash crop and provides 90% of farmers’ incomes. The average farm is around 10ha in size. Around 3.2ha is given over to coffee production which is 100 per cent shade-grown. The farmers grow cocoa, banana, mango, and plantain which are also used as shade trees for their coffee. They also grow vegetables and some families keep animals and make handicrafts. A number of farmers are putting more resources into diversifying into citrus fruits and cardamom.
FEDECOCAGUA invested Fairtrade Premiums in the restoration of local health clinics. In Yupitepque, Jutiapa, premium funds were used to install a water pump for the town’s health clinic and to build and improve schools. Children at a school in Cooperative Esperanza del Futuro in Jalapa now have a new roof that keeps out the dampness.
FEDECOCAGUA became Fairtrade certified in 2000.