CCDA and Fair Trade
trade is not charity.
It is a form of international
cooperation in which both the north and the south can work together
to promote a better future.
way that the coffee system functions is injust because it leaves
the producer with very little, without taking into account the value
of waking up very early, cutting coffee cherries all day, and carrying
100 pound sacks large distances."
Marcelo Sabuc, a member of the CCDA team
fair trade is different"
"It is an alternative
economic system that allows small scale producers to be more involved
in the final sale of their coffee, and ensures fair prices and social
Coffee cooperatives who
succeed in accessing the fair trade market, become comfortable and
which leads them to distance themselves from social struggles.
This is problematic,
especially in countries like Guatemala where the social system is
deficient and unjust.
The Fair trade
system of the CCDA
With the CCDA the profits
from the sale of coffee work as a tool to confront the most systemic
global problems that exist in the country.
CCDA members receive:
- Access to credit
- Scholarships for their
- Support and accompaniment
in the legal process to gain land
- Various levels of
financial assistance to improve their living conditions and technical
assistance to improve the production of coffee
This strategy is more
holistic and so is more effective at bringing about a socio-economic
justice to the country.
Process and Obstacles for Small Scale Producers
members have been educating themselves for three years.
In 2001, when they decided
to explore the certification process, they contacted the Fair Trade
Labeling Organization (FLO) in El Salvador. FLO is the international
organization in Bonn, Germany, that works as a independent certifying
and verifying body to ensure that a long term fair trade relationship
exists between the producers and importers.
When the CCDA contacted
FLO, they were told that FLO already had too many cooperatives applying
and that a majority of the ones that had already been certified
could not find an international market and for that reason the registration
was shut down
FLO also told them to
certify their coffee as organic since the demand for certified fair
trade coffee wasn't as large without the organic certification.
So, from the profits
earned through the fair trade relationship, the CCDA has been able
to invest in organic certification. Currently the CCDA has 77 producers
certified as "organic in transition" with the expectation
of completing the certification process in 2005.
The CCDA is again facing
a large obstacle in its search for justice for its members. As a
result, they began to speak with their international friends and
solidarity relationships to find alternatives.
No new cooperative
would be able to be certified as fair trade until the market or
the demand grew.
The CCDA has 77 producers
certified as "organic in transition"
The secret of the increased
success of the CCDA has been its focus on grassroots cooperation
with international friends. Within an unjust system of earning through
exploiting, solidarity groups like BC CASA (British Columbia Central
American Student Alliance) and Rompiendo el Silencio (Breaking the
Silence) in Canada have contributed to the creation of a just and
egalitarian model that respects the families and communities that
During the 2002-2003
crop, the sales of CCDA increased again, exporting more than 19,600
pounds to their Canadian partners.
drink to Justice!
Of the 30 CCDA communities
that cultivate coffee, the CCDA can only buy 50% of the coffee produce
in 1 community. As a result, they are continuing their search for
new markets and relationships, visiting importing countries with
the goal of informing and educating the people on the coffee crisis
and how it is affecting the health and well being of thousands of
families in Guatemala and the world.
Lots of work is clearly
needed to increase the sales and importations of fair trade coffee
since the international fair trade market remains small. It is possible
to build a more fair country when the consumer has more of an understanding
that each purchase that they make can impact the lives of small-scale
producers. To know where and how a product arrives is imperative.
Buying coffee through
fair trade can help campesinos earn more capital and the power to
diversify their crops to be less dependent on a mono-crop and to
stop being slaves of a volatile market.
when there is respect for those who harvest, will we see more campesnos
like those involved in the CCDA, reclaiming their dignity as producers
of one of the most saught after crops - coffee.