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.
Some roasters boast about bouncing around the world buying the best beans they can find for a one-time purchase. At Equal Exchange, we can boast we have been trading fairly with the same democratically organized farmers for a quarter century. The relationship between Equal Exchange and the farmers in northern Nicaragua has survived war, embargo, revolution, counter-revolution, and epic hurricanes. We supported the farmer members of PRODECOOP from a time before there was USDA Organic, before Fair Trade certification, before cell phones existed.
PRODECOOP, RL is a second-level co-operative organization that brings together 38 village-level co-operatives comprised of about 2.300 small farmers, 30 percent of whom are women. Growers and producers are located in different communities and coffee areas of the departments of Esteli, Madriz and Nueva Segovia in northern Nicaragua.
The co-operative provides services such as marketing, agricultural extension services, training, credit, capacity building of co-operatives, coffee quality programs, and social development projects. Continuous education of members to expand each member's ability to be a strong farmer and a leader in her or his co-op and community is a hallmark of PRODECOOP's wonderful history.
PRODECOOP is a leader in the international Fair Trade movement. All of their coffee is sold into the Fair Trade market. Equal Exchange purchased members' coffee through the state-owned export agency from 1986 through 1991. Since 1992, PRODECOOP has exported directly to the international market and currently has 18 clients in Europe, the United States, and Japan. In an average year they export 30,000 150-lb bags of green coffee, of which 50 percent of the total volume is organic.
PRODECOOP stands for the Central Cooperative of Multiple Services and its mission is to improve the quality of life of small producers and their families in the Segovias Region of Nicaragua by:
- providing quality production, processing and marketing services for farmer members' coffee, honey and other organic and nonorganic products; advancing cooperative principles through Fair Trade, gender equity programs, climate change adaptation strategies, and food security and sovereignty efforts to create a truly democratic organization; and educating members in all areas of farm and agricultural management including financial, technical, material, and social change issues.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES for 2012-2015:
- Promote and encourage the development of self-management capabilities of co-operatives and the base of associated rural families.
- Promote cooperative education and the development of relations of brotherhood, cooperation, exchange and solidarity between the partners and between them and other actors and socio-economic sectors of the environment.
- Promote effective integration of member co-operatives to strengthen the cooperative movement, both nationally, regionally and internationally.
- Contribute to improving gender equality and equity and socio-economic position of women.
- Improve the income and therefore socio-economic development of families clustered in associated primary co-operatives.
- Develop economic capacities, production and business to improve the income of members.