The Cooperativa Regional de Agricultores Orgánicos de la Sierra (RAOS) was formed in 1997 by a group of small farmers. They formed RAOS in response to the closing of the cooperative CARMOL that marketed conventional coffee produced in the area. After the closure, a large number of “coyotes,” or intermediaries, began to work in the area – prices dropped and there was no support from the government for coffee farming families. A small group of farmers began training themselves and each other on growing coffee using non conventional techniques. This small group, now growing coffee organically was initially overlooked by others in the area. But they soon realized the great benefit non conventional techniques brought. Since 1997, the RAOS Cooperative has become an economic development model in the region of Marcala, Honduras. With over 200 members and growing, RAOS is considered the country’s pioneers of organic coffee. They play an important role in their communities, providing essential services through Fair Trade Premiums.
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