AGROCOEX - Companía Agropromotora del Cotopaxi
The owners of AGROCOEX are motivated to support women, indigenous people and people with disabilities, believing those groups are at the greatest disadvantage during times of social and economic difficulty. As such, AGROCOEX decided to confront these socio-economic issues within their own community by creating objectives that align with the ideals of social justice and Fair Trade.
As a company, AGROCOEX strives to create a safe and just working environment by working to increase the levels of education and well-being of workers, children and community members of its farms. One of the farm’s main governing principles is to foster a standard of living that promotes dignified living conditions for workers.
In 1998, AGROCOEX became Fair Trade Certified in order to establish prices that would cover the cost of sustainable production and fair wages. The workers enjoy participating in Fair Trade because Fair Trade premiums help them invest in projects and programs that they believe better their standard of living. AGROCOEX’s workers collectively decide the use of the community development premiums through a democratic and transparent manner during annual “premium committee” meetings.
From the management’s perspective, Fair Trade is attractive because consumers can buy products that agree with their values and principles. By buying Fair Trade Roses from AGROCOEX, consumers support the workers that fight to better their lives.
As a father, my greatest hope is to provide for my family with security and wellbeing, and that means to own our own home. With the purchase of land for our housing plan begins the road to the change in our lives and of our families. ”
One of the problems that affects a huge part of our community is tooth decay, which is given little importance until the decay advances enough to warrant tooth removal. Not only is a tooth lost, but it bring headaches, jaw aches, general bad health, and low self esteem among other problems. With the dentistry center, our families and the community have access to dental healthcare in the workplace and with high quality materials ”
One of the problems that affect the majority of the people in our town is cavities, which people do not bother with or notice until they are in pain and have to get the tooth pulled. People are affected because they not only lose teeth, but also they get headaches and pain – it is uncomfortable and also causes low self-esteem. With our premium funded dentistry center, our families and the community can access a dentist with the best equipment – all at their workplace! ”
Amparito Chancusig, post harvest worker AGROCOEX
The Joint Body approved the creation of information system workshops and internet access training for workers, workers' children, relatives and other interested community members. A System Engineer teaches the technology workshops and evaluates students weekly to guarantee their academic and personal improvement.
Washing Machines Help Empower Women
AGROCOEX recognizes that women who realize their full potential are the key to achieving a higher standard of living. The organization helps provide women in the community with the tools and means to increase their independence. The importance of the participation of women in the development process of their families and the community is recognized and emphasized in various AGROCOEX forums. The Washing Machine Program gives women in the community access to semi-industrial washers and dryers in order to eliminate the old practice of washing clothing in natural water springs, which negatively impacted women’s health and also polluted the environment with water contamination. This is one of the programs started in order to give women more independence, allow them to optimize their time, and allow them to use their free time on activities that improve their lives.
Music for the Children
A new program was started by AGROCOEX to allow children to learn how to play musical instruments. Learning how to play music is seen as a way to help children develop psychologically as well as a way to teach children discipline and dedication. The members of AGROCOEX believe music can have a positive impact on the community by changing attitudes and changing the way people think and express themselves. The music program has given the children in the community enthusiasm for learning as well as a new way to express themselves.
Scholarship Program for Workers
Fair Trade premiums help AGROCOEX workers complete their grade school educations. Often, adult workers do not complete grade school or high school before they start working to support their families. AGROCOEX workers have established a scholarship program, funded by community development premiums, for employees to complete schooling part time. The workers committee in charge of the program have established an agreement with the local education board, the Institución Radiofónico Fe y Alegría, to provide quality educational opportunities for the workers.