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.
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
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 ”
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 ”
The Joint Body invested Fair Trade premiums toward improving the conditions of childcare facilities for all workers' children.
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.
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.