Prodecoop Central de Cooperativas (PRODECOOP) is a legally incorporated, non-profit, Nicaraguan cooperative, owned by 39 member cooperatives, composed of a total of some 2,300 members. While primarily focusing on the sales and distribution of coffee, PRODECOOP also offers credit and technical assistance to its cooperatives. PRODECOOP is one of the most stable smallholder farmer organizations in Latin America.
From sales to the Fair Trade market, PRODECOOP was able to pay off bank debt and support many social programs, including:
Administrative Organization Training: where PRODECOOP offers an education and scholarship program for the members' children to attend primary and secondary school. The most outstanding children may also participate in a training program to become expert cuppers.
An Organic Production program: aimed at improving the quality of coffee through environmentally-friendly production techniques
A Food Support program: in which food aid is given to members in disadvantaged areas
Development of female participation: Membership includes 504 women with several women in senior management, including the CEO position.
A revolving fund: for building and improving members' houses
In addition to their social programs, the main operation of PRODECOOP is growing, processing, and exporting coffee. The 112 containers of coffee PRODECOOP produces annually consist of two main varieties, Caturra and Bourbon. Roughly 40% of all coffee produced is organic and shade grown. Guava, plantain, banana, and citrus trees are used to shade the coffee as it grows. European and sun drying processes are used to create a cup of coffee with good acidity and body.
PRODECOOP purchases coffee from 39 member producer cooperatives. These 39 cooperatives, located on the south of the border of Honduras, are comprised of 2,300 members (504 are women) in 100 rural communities and 10 municipalities. Once the coffee is processed at the PRODECOOP plant, it is exported to markets in the United States and Europe. PRODECOOP has more than nine international buyers.
As of September 2008, annual revenue totaled $8.4 M, representing a 30% increase over the total revenue earned in 2007 of $6.4 M. The increase in sales resulted from the combination of the biannual good coffee yield with a period of commodity price stability. Apart from coffee sales, the cooperative also earned revenue selling dry milling services to other cooperatives.
Nicaraguan coffee farmer Melba Amparo Estrada Guillen is widowed, even though she is only 40 years old. She supports her six children with proceeds from growing coffee, grains, and beans. And her success is due to hard work, dedication, sacrifice…and Prodecoop. Full Story