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.
The children at the Day Care center feel very safe and they like it. The equipment given by AGROCOEX and the support offered by the Community Development Committee San Francisco – La Victoria lets our children grow. They are being cared for in such a professional manner. They are safer, are learning well and are developing such great skills! Our children are getting the opportunity to socialize in a safe setting, they are getting physical exercise and all of the great things that come with professional childcare services. ”
Liz Rivadeneria, worker at Childcare Center
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 ”
During all these years working for AGOCOEX, I have been able to develop as a woman, a mother, a wife, and a collaborator and integral part of the community. Thanks to the Fair Trade premium, I have had access to many benefits for myself, for my family, and for the members of my community. One of the benefits I have had access to is the micro loan program. To access this loan I only had to meet the established requirements. If I had gone to a bank, this loan would not have been possible because of the high interest rates and, because of my limited income; I am not allowed a line of credit at the bank. With the money I received from the Community Development Plan, I was able to install ceramic floor tiles in my house where there had previously been only dirt floors. I was also able to construct a study room for my son where he could successfully complete homework and study comfortably without having to share a room. The Fair Trade premium has touched my life and has changed and improved my family’s life. The standard of living for my family is now better. My son can now enjoy privacy and has an appropriate place to study and will be able to achieve great success in his education. Thank you, Fair Trade clients for alleviating poverty and allowing us to dream of better futures for our children ”
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.
Acess to Microloans
This year, $13,770 was given out in microloans. There are rules and a formalized agreement that outline the delivery of resources, interest, and repayment. All AGROCOEX workers have the opportunity to receive loans to construct homes, complete home improvement projects, and to invest in their small businesses.
New Housing Program
Fair Trade premiums have funded the first phase of housing construction for the Community Development Committee San Francisco – La Victoria. The Joint Body approved the purchase of five hectares of land in the La Calera district in Latacunga, Cotopaxi. The investment is intended to help workers achieve their dream of home ownership.
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.