Find Us within the Heart of COOPARM: And in the Capital of Ecological Coffee
31 mayo 2023
Founded in 1991 by 100 farmers, COOPARM is a bustling coffee co-operative nestled in the heart of the Amazon - a prevalent coffee-growing area aptly referred to as 'the capital of ecological coffee'. In 2008, COOPARM earned its organic and Fairtrade certification, whilst in 2010, the co-operative joined us as a Shared Interest customer. Since then, we have been proud to support the co-operative's impressive growth in various capacities. Today, COOPARM boasts a community of 542 farmer members across 32 different high-altitude hubs, each with a shared ethos: putting people and the planet at the forefront of high quality coffee production.
From Strength to Strength
The unwavering generosity of our members has allowed Shared Interest to provide fair finance to COOPARM from the very beginning, as one of its first social lenders. In turn, COOPARM have been able to support farmers in preparing their land for harvest, acquire machinery and equipment for their dry mill and provide payment for coffee collections year-round. COOOPARM headquarters has proceeded to install its own cupping laboratory, compost plant, warehouse and nearby processing plant to help ensure COOPARM farmers become known for the quality of their coffee by having the right facilities, as expressed by General Manager Ramiro.
"Shared Interest is at the heart of COOPARM."
– Ramiro Bocanegra, COOPARM General Manager
While Shared Interest is proud to provide some of the key ingredients, COOPARM has been brewing a recipe for success also courtesy of its responsible members, each wishing to work together as a self-professed organised family to improve the crop and subsequently further the advancements of the co-operative. A training programme on organic practices, conservation and land preservation, indicative of an overarching focus on sustainability, represents the forward thinking style of the co-operative which affords its members a unique opportunity to constantly learn and gain a depth of experience.
"Being part of the co-op means that we are organised, and we feel a part of something, like being with family. Life has changed a lot because now we have training on best practice."
– Jairo Rodriguez Vargas, COOPARM Farmer
Challenges Still Present a Bitter Taste
Whilst COOPRAM continues to reach new heights - and no, we're not talking about its multitude of farms scaling the highest altitudes of the Amazonas - many challenges still linger and threaten low points. Foremost, coffee prices. An issue we feature in more detail within our upcoming QR #128, coffee prices fluctuate year on year, becoming increasingly more unpredictable in alignment with volatile or extreme weather conditions. Whilst this is a challenge faced by other coffee-producing organisations, COOPARM members are already feeling the burn of climate change.
COOPARM Farmer Jairo said: “In terms of climate, the period of rain has got longer over the last two years. It would normally have been wet in winter and summer would be drier but we now see rain in summer. The amount of water increases the illnesses that affect the crops."
Illness of crops is another issue affecting coffee growers and contributing to the instability of the market, and as demonstrated to us by our friends at COOPARM, such challenges are inextricably linked and thus, require a coordinated and strategic response.
From its commitments to sustainability to its achievements of coffee quality, the enduring brilliance and resilience of COOPARM is evident in its many stories of success and character. And despite the uncertainties presented by the various challenges faced in developing communities, one thing is for sure: COOPARM is growing for the future, and Shared Interest will remain present and resolute in support of the co-operative to help implement its response, meet its needs and fulfil its aspirations at the world's epicentre of coffee production.