Stories of Change

Rosa Ardila - changes through co-operation
Rosa Ardila

Rosa Ardila - changes through co-operation

‘Fair trade has helped us to improve our quality of life in so many ways. All the improvements – the chickens, the cows, the tiles on my kitchen floor, the new coffee equipment – have only been possible thanks to my higher income through fair trade. I earn at least half as much again for my coffee than I used to’.

Rosa is immensely proud of her achievements since she became a founding member of the APCO co-operative in 1994. ‘Just getting ourselves organised as a group brought a lot of benefits. We work together so well as a group, and getting together as a co-operative allowed us to get training in everything from better water and soil retention methods, to fire prevention techniques. We’re so much more motivated to work hard these days knowing that we’re getting a better return for our coffee!’

Coffee alone still doesn’t pay all the bills for Rosa and her family; with her husband Marco, she continues to grow sugar cane as a means of income for the months between coffee harvests when money is tight. But the market for panela, the unrefined sugar that Rosa produces from her cane, is depressed and the prices she receives for it are very low.

Rosa has much to look forward to these days; with the premium she will get this year from her coffee harvest from Trade Aid and other fair trade buyers, she will be able to afford to replace many of her older coffee trees with new plants. The money will help her to bridge through the next four years until her strong new plants start producing coffee.

‘I love my organisation’, Rosa says. ‘With APCO, we can all get more of the real value of our crop and from our community’
Read more about APCO - Asociacion de Pequenos Caficultores de Ocamonte »

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