ECOM coffee cooperative in Colombia
Huila is one of the main areas for coffee in Colombia, a country known for its excellent coffee. The Rabobank Foundation supports five coffee cooperatives in this area through coffee trader ECOM Trading.
All these fairly small farmers’ co-ops were completely dependent on the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) until recently. The farmers’ co-op could always sell their coffee to the FNC, but only at preset prices. The Rabobank Foundation has now provided the farmers with a small working capital. This gives them a stronger market position, because now they can decide for themselves who they sell their coffee to. This ensures a better rate for the cooperatives, and therefore also for the farmers. The co-ops receive better rates when they are able to sell their coffee with a Fair Trade, UTZ or Rainforest certificate. ECOM pays for the costs of the certification process for the cooperations. This way they can sell their certified coffee to ECOM without investing first. Moreover, ECOM provides technical assistance to the cooperatives in such areas as coffee production techniques, quality assurance and internal auditing. The collaboration has already yielded short-term positive results. The farmers take pride in the progress they achieve together using this approach.