The Coffee Producers Cooperative of High East of Caldas (Cooperativa de Caficultores del Alto Occidente de Caldas FLO ID 20739) has implemented a new strategy to buy coffee directly on the small roads to help producers who have difficulties to move to the collection centers to sell their coffee because in some places transport is limited due to the preventive measures imposed by local, state and national authorities.
This initiative also contributes to helping producers to avoid gathering in a massive number, and prevents the elderly to go out (there is a large number of elderly coffee producers), and avoids lines in the selling points, following the recommendations of sanitary authorities.
Initially they have started this initiative in the Riosucio Caldas municipality, and the transport for the small roads works 4 days a week from Tuesday to Friday covering 30 communities, helping 100 coffee producers and their families without additional costs. In April they bought approximately around 150.000 kilograms and they aim to collect a total of 600.000 kilograms in the coming weeks from 700 associates who live in this municipality. This cooperative currently has 2.600 associates.
In a small truck, owned by the cooperative, a team of workers transits the small roads and gathers with producers at certain points in which they weight the product and load to transport it to the collection centers.
“With this service we are contributing to the isolation so that coffee producers can take care of themselves and prevent this virus. And at the same time can sell their product despite the transport limitations that we have experienced in the communities”, said César Julio Díaz, the cooperative´s executive manager.
“Fairtrade certification is very important for the cooperative because it has allowed us to sell our certified coffee and to obtain additional resources as social premium, which we could invest in the many needs of our associates. At this specific time of isolation and pandemic it allows to have the possibility to keep buying the coffee from our producers and that is a big strength that the Fairtrade certification has given us.”