Article: Producer News: CECOCAFEN in the Off Season

Written by Cafe Campesino on Sep 1, 2004 in Article, NEWSLETTER |
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Adapted from an Interview with Martha Villarreyna and Pedro Haslam of CECOCAFEN in Nicaragua.The following is a brief article adapted from an interview by Felicity Butler with Martha Villarreyna, Director de Comercializacion, and Pedro Haslam, Gerente General, of CECOCAFEN, supplier of Café Campesino’s delicious Nicaragua coffee. CECOCAFEN is a processing and exporting cooperative owned by small village cooperatives throughout the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua.

Café Campesino sincerely thanks our friends at CECOCAFEN for helping us to better understand our partners and bringing us together in the name of Fair Trade.

When asked about what is happening now at CECOCAFEN while coffee is not being harvested, Martha Villareyna listed a litany of activities, making it clear that “off-season” is by no means “down-time” at CECOCAFEN! While they are closing the books on 2003/2004 sales for each village cooperative, applications are being received and approved from members of the cooperatives for new credit loans for the maintenance of the coffee plantations in 2004/2005.

In addition, training and workshops, both theoretical and practical, are being provided for the associated members, addressing subjects such as organic and conventional production, basic accounting skills and improving the wet mill processing on the farms. Workshops are also being held for the personnel of CECOCAFEN in preparation for ISO 9002-2000 certification.
The folks at CECOCAFEN are also conducting technical inspections of the coffee farms to estimate production for the upcoming 2004/2005 harvest. At the same time, inspections of the coffee farms for organic certification in partnership with BIOLATINA have begun.At the community development level, on-going work is being done on the youth education program for the members’ children who receive scholarships and for the women in the small credit loan scheme (GMAS: Grupo de mujeres en Ahorro Solidario).

During this “non-harvesting” period the individual village cooperatives are working on the different practices and techniques for cultivating their coffee, which will improve the planting areas, the quality of the product and improve the well-being of the producers. Some of the areas in which the CECOCAFEN and the producer cooperatives are working include: weeding, regulating the shade, pruning and trimming, the development and application of organic products on the farms, improving the wet mill process, and the de-pulping of mature coffee. Assembly meetings in each associated cooperative are being held simultaneously to reinforce the other development work being spearheaded by CECOCAFEN.

CECOCAFEN is yet another shining example of Fair Trade at work. Their dedication to the producers is evident not only in the sheer number of activities that they have undertaken but also the breadth of the areas they are addressing, from production to community-wide development.

To learn more, please visit www.cooperativecoffees.com, where you can find more information about CECOCAFEN www.cecocafen.com and our other coffee producing partners around the world.

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