Producer Profile: Fondo Paez: Strengthening Knowledge & Culture

Written by Cafe Campesino on Sep 1, 2008 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |
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Fondo Paez group and Bill

The Paez (who also call themselves Nasa or “the people”) is the largest indigenous group in Colombia.

Fondo Paez was founded in 1992 with the primary goal of recovering traditional agricultural knowledge and indigenous culture buried by centuries of conflict and oppression. Paez community leaders
teamed up with Fundación Colombia Nuestra, a Colombian-based non-profit, to start the “Recovering Agricultural Knowledge” program.

As the main cash crop of this region is still coffee, Fondo Paez organized community-based coffee cooperatives to ensure a stable income for their members. By 2000, they were selling coffee through
the Coffee Federation’s Specialty Coffee program. In 2003 they produced 280,000 pounds of coffee, both conventional and organic certified.

The co-op currently processes, markets and exports their coffee through the Coffee Federation but maintains a completely independent internal decision-making process. It is governed democratically,
is extraordinarily well organized, and was recently incorporated as an association in Colombia with its own legal identity.

Equal Partners

Fondo Paez provides technical assistance for quality control and organic production to its members. Fondo Paez then works with these members to collect coffee and transport it to a nearby coffee mill for processing. The co-op retains ownership of the coffee until it reaches the port.

The co-op’s members are equal owners in the organization and not only receive social benefits provided by Fondo Paez but also retain a much higher percentage of profits.

Name: Asociación Kwe’sx Uma Kiwe Peykajn Mjinxisa, Fondo Paez

Founded: 1992

# of Members: 550 families, 285 are certified organic

Annual Production: In 2007, they exported 240,000 lbs of organic coffee and 120,000 lbs of transitional coffee; In 2008, they expect to export 280,000 lbs of organic and 160,000 lbs of transitional.

We have been proudly selling their coffees since 2004.

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