Fair Trade Empowers Indigenous Communities
Colombian Coffee Cooperative Stays Strong with Fair Trade On Its Side
Meet Yuri Pillimue, International Commercial Manager of the Fair Trade Certified coffee cooperative Asociación Fondo Paez. Not only is Yuri a dedicated mother and member of the largest indigenous group in Colombia, the Paez, she is also a brilliant business woman who originally joined the cooperative to help secure indigenous land rights.
As a strong cooperative leader, Yuri works hard to maintain the indigenous cultural and agricultural knowledge of her people. Fair Trade helps make that a reality. By taking part in a system that provides key market access, financial training, and the ability to invest in things like education, healthcare, food security and clean water, the farmers and workers of Fondo Paez are able to participate in vibrant, global trade while simultaneously strengthening their own cultural heritage.
For Yuri and her people, Fair Trade makes all the difference in the world. Revenues from coffee sales were not making a big impact until the cooperative began selling under Fair Trade terms in 2005. “To my little organization, Fair Trade has been important,” explains Yuri. “Fair Trade allows us to sell our coffee for a fair price.”
The Paez’s success is remarkable considering their history: centuries of Spanish colonialism and decades of violence around them as a result of the drug trade. Yet despite their growth, Asociación Fondo Paez is now facing new challenges. Like coffee cooperatives worldwide, the group is struggling to overcome current global market realities such as price fluctuation and a generally higher cost of doing business. To help them succeed in an often volatile marketplace, Fair Trade USA has hosted financial trainings for 37 Colombian Fair Trade Certified coffee cooperatives, including Asociación Fondo Paez. These trainings are part of a recently launched, comprehensive development program - called Co-op Link - designed to strengthen farming communities worldwide.
With your help, Fair Trade USA can continue to train and empower producer groups like Asociación Fondo Paez to become the best businesses they can be.
Support Fair Trade farmers and workers by giving a Gift of Fairness this holiday season. The friend or loved one you choose to receive the Gift of Fairness will get a beautiful, personalized eCard or you can print it out to wrap up as a present!
Here are a few sample gifts: