In the collection center of the Cooperativa Agraria Ecológica Cacaotera Valle Río Ene (COOPAVRE), located in the Junin region, in Peru, each producer who brings his cocoa, wears a mask on a mandatory basis, washes his hands, disinfects his shoes and has his temperature measured before delivering his product.
These are part of the measures to prevent COVID-19 contagion that the cooperative has implemented as a biosafety protocol, for which it has had the financing of CLAC´s Relief Fund.
“The help they have given us has been very useful to us, we have bought bleach, alcohol, soap, masks, protective suits, infrared thermometers, boots, water containers, backpacks to disinfect, signage and a banner with the biosafety protocols for the work in the central storage warehouse, things that we needed due to the pandemic. And we are also distributing to each member a sanitary kit with all those materials. This aid has helped us a lot to prevent the spread of COVID19,” stated Marco Antonio Dominguez, president of COOPAVRE.
Like this cocoa cooperative in Peru, 117 other organizations have received a positive answer to their requests for the Relief Fund for Fairtrade certified Organizations of Small Producers in Latin America and the Caribbean, promoted by CLAC and Fairtrade International.
At the Rio Tambo District, in the Satipo province in Peru, each of the 212 associates and workers of COOPAVRE has received a kit containing alcohol, mask, bleach, soap, and face protector. In addition, the organization purchased protective suits for workers, containers to install handwashing stations, supplies to disinfect shoes, and backpacks to disinfect the office and warehouse area.
Although the number of people with COVID-19 in Peru is one of the highest in Latin America, there are still few cases in the communities where the cooperative works, thanks to the fact that the population has organized to promote prevention measures.
"We as people have already tried to organize ourselves, each community in that area has already taken very strict measures and that is why there were no cases because if not there were more problems, and under this context of support that is coming, with that we will take more prevention and all of our associates will be better, more protected," said Dominguez.
The organization has also donated health kits to the Selva de Oro health post. In addition, the organic cocoa producer cooperative is also disseminating the preventive measures over the phone or through visits to the producers, respecting social distancing. COOPAVRE received $2,000 from CLAC´s Relief Fund to implement the biosafety protocol, which is highly relevant in these cocoa harvest months. Besides the measures in the collection center, the cooperative has organized transportation to collect the product in the plots to prevent associates from exposing themselves.
“Thank you for the support you have given us in our country. That is helping us and if there is more support, it will be welcomed, because that way we can protect ourselves until the end of this epidemic and thus our partners are well protected, our partners are grateful for the support that is being provided," Dominguez highlighted.
To date, 45 applications have been approved for the Fund for the implementation of biosafety protocols, so that, like COOPAVRE, other cooperatives can take measures to protect their associates and workers from COVID- 19.
CLAC´s Relief Fund is still open and the organizations can request financing to implement biosecurity protocols, defray increased production costs, and also for medical, hospital, or funeral expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also a line to subsidize the Fairtrade certification payment. For more information about the fund visit http://clac-comerciojusto.org/en/fondo-de-alivio/