Farm: Cooperativa Agraria de Servicios Multiples ”Union Y Fe” La Coipa
Varietal: Pache, Caturra, Typica & Catimor
Processing: Fully washed & dried on raised beds or drying houses
Altitude: 1,500 to 2,000 metres above sea level
Owner: Cooperativa Agraria de Servicios Multiples ”Union Y Fe” La Coipa220 smallholder farmers total;26 farmers contributed to this lot
Town / City: San Ignacio, La Coipa
UNAFECOOP COIPA (San Ignacio) - Peru
Formed in 2014, the Cooperativa Agraria de Servicios Multiples ”Union Y Fe” La Coipa (The Agrarian Cooperative of Multiple Services ‘Union and Faith’ in La Coipa) came into being with the purpose of helping smallholder farmers from one of Peru’s most impoverished districts to find sustainable markets for their coffee and improve their livelihoods. The (rather long) name derives from a combination of words that founding members found significant and that communicated the strength and ideals at the heart of the cooperative. In particular, ‘Union’ (Union) and ‘Fe’ (Faith) demonstrate their belief that collaborative action and perseverance are the keys to achieving a better life for coffee producers and their families.
The Cooperative was first created by 233 smallholder farmers, most of whom farm on fewer than 4 hectares of land in this, one of Peru’s premier coffee-producing regions. Today, some 220 producers work with the cooperative, which supports them with pre-financing, technical assistance and coffee quality improvement programming, along with other social programs. Quality has, above all, been a focus for the organisation, given the demands of the current market for exceptional coffees.
To this end, all members of the cooperative take strict care with regards to harvesting and processing. Coffee is selectively hand-harvested and is pulped on the same day at each individual producer’s small wet-mill. After fermenting for between 12 and 24 hours (depending on climate and altitude of each farm), the coffee is washed and then laid to dry on raised beds or drying ‘modules’ - which vary greatly in structure from farm to farm - for at least 10 days. Drying modules, though they vary, are usually raised structures with some sort of roof covering to protect coffee from rain.
Organic coffee is key to the Cajamarca Province’s economy, and as such, UNAFECOOP COIPA remains committed to the principles of organic agriculture. They are currently certified according to USA NOP standards; though they have yet to certify under EU norms (simply because 2015 is their first year exporting to the EU), for the 2015/16 season, the group will secure inspection according to EU norms and fully expects to be able to market their coffee as organic in all EU countries.
The group is organised as a social enterprise, with market principles and quality margins at their heart. Enabling small producers to participate and compete on international markets for quality coffee is their primary mission. The group’s short-term goals include continuing to improve their coffee quality and steadily growing as an organisation so as to impact more producing families’ lives. In the long-term, they wish to be recognised at both national and international levels as notable producers of high-quality coffee. Working with Mercanta in 2015 in order to bring their coffee both to the US and the EU markets is one step towards this goal.