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 low-interest loan that I received allowed me to establish a small supplies store. With this supplies store, my wife’s income contributes to my entire family's wellbeing and also improves the standard of living for my children. ”
Luis Casa, AGROCOEX Worker
To learn music you need discipline, dedication, and perseverance. If I can do this with music, I can do this in all aspects of my life. ”
On the weekends I used all my free time to wash clothes in a traditional manner that negatively affected my health, contaminated water, and did not allow me to enjoy my free time. Now that I can bring my families clothes to be washed and dried during work hours, I can also enjoy the weekends with my family. I enjoy this time to grow as a person, a wife and a mother. ”
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.
Low-Interest Micro Loans
Fair Trade premiums fund a worker microcredit program which provides employees with low-interest, short-term loans. These loans may be used for housing construction, home improvements, personal business investment or as a guarantee for an additional credit line with a local bank.
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.