The Mineral Springs Cooperative, also referred to as Sanjukta Vikas Cooperative, was one of the first small farming initiatives in the plantation controlled region of Darjeeling. The land that cooperative members live on was a tea plantation in the early part of the century but abandoned in the 1950s. The community has since depended mostly upon subsistence farming of corn, millet, potatoes and vegetables.
The Association of Small Coffee Producers, "Farmers' Hands" is an organization of small-scale coffee producers in the highlands of southwestern Guatemala.
Name: Las Colinas Co-operative
Location: Tacuba, Ahuachapán, El Salvador
Number of Producers: 89 members
Certifications: Organic, Fair for Life, SPP
Fortaleza del Valle was founded in 2005 to improve living conditions for small-scale cacao producers in the Manabí Province of Ecuador. The co-operative is made up of five regional groups, with over 630 farmers as members. The average size of each farm is 2.5 - 12.5 acres, and the farms are diversified to include fruit and timber trees. Fortaleza del Valle works to improve family incomes by improving the production yield and quality of its members' cacao. The co-op has developed post-harvest infrastructure, such as central fermentation centers, to ensure the best in quality.
The story of El Guabo, one of Equal Exchange’s farmer partners, is a success story in grassroots organizing. In 1998, 14 small-scale banana farmers in southwest Ecuador decided to take the tremendous risk of sending one container (about 38,400 lbs) of bananas to Europe with the hope of selling it directly to a supermarket. By cutting out the middleman, they took the power back into their own hands. With the sale of this first container, the El Guabo Association of Small Banana Producers was born.
The National Confederation of Dominican Cacao Producers (CONACADO) is an organization of small-scale cacao producers in the Dominican Republic. CONACADO began as a development project in 1985 during a low in the global cocoa market, to study how cacao fermentation techniques could improve the quality of cacao production in the Dominican Republic.
SOPACDI is located in Kivu, DRC, an area that has been wracked by ethnic- and gender-based violence that has destroyed the local economy and all but virtually extinguished the coffee sector. Coffee used to play an important role in the economy, however, years of warring factions and low prices gave the farmers little hope.
High in the Andean mountains east of Lake Titicaca, a few dozen families cultivate coffee and food crops on small farms ranging from 4 to 6 acres in size.
Back in 1977, a group of 71 families left their tiny, unproductive plots in the Antiplano to move to the Alto Sajama region, where they received land on which they could grow coffee, citrus, and food crops. With assistance from CARE, the farmers adopted organic growing methods, and in 1994 began exporting to the European Fair Trade market.