Producer Profile: El Salvador

Written by Cafe Campesino on Apr 3, 2009 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |
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The following producer profile is about a very special group of people who have overcome great obstacles to join our fair trade family.  The members of ACOES are working hard to stay in business but are in need of capitol to make some basis investments in their productive capacity.  In the next few days, Cafe Campesino will be launching a fundraising campaign on behalf of our friends at ACOES.  We seek to raise $2000 (that’s 100 folks pitching in $20 each) that will be added to other funds that have been raised so that ACOES can purchase manual depulpers, build a drying system, construct fermentation tanks and receive training in processing their coffee.  Keep an eye out for the email announcement in the next several days.

ACOES – Asociacion Agropecuaria de caficultores organicos del occidente de el Salvador de RL

Located in the municipality of Tacuba, department of Ahuachapan, ACOES is made up of two cooperatives, La Concordia and Sincuyo.  This cooperative is made up of just 29 families, with 20 members in La Concordia and nine in Sincuyo. ACOES exported their very first half container of coffee, when we bought 165 bags of coffee from this promising group in early 2008.

Starting from pretty modest beginning, ACOES maintains lofty goals. Their members have worked hard to maintain their organic certification, to get a solid footing in Fair Trade markets, to establish additional relationships with supportive buyers, to increase both the yields in their plots and the number of  members to their cooperative, protect their natural resources, diversify their economy by eventually producing and selling other agricultural products, renovate their fields, and improve the quality of life for their families.

Cooperative Coffees met with this coop in 2008 through a reference from Prof. Ernesto Mendez, a professor of agroecology at the University of Vermont. Mendez has been working with this group for years, and we were just as impressed by their dedication, hard work, and positive attitude, which have allowed them to survive in the tough and unstable political and economic landscape of El Salvador.

According to Mendez, “members of the “La Concordia” cooperative in El Salvador were keen to learn about the ecological processes taking place in their fields, recognizing the potential these have for improving their livelihoods”.

Through building fair trade relationships, the families of ACOES have definite plans on how to improve their coffee production and quality of life for their community.  Projects to address the malnutrition present in their families, an ecological coffee processing mill, better infrastructure (office, warehouse, galley), water storage, and reforestation are on the agenda.

So far, their sweet, mellow, chocolatey coffee has our roasters raving about the quality of this coffee. We are looking forward to building a long lasting, mutually beneficial partnership.

Children of ACOES, El Salvador

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