As the world’s 12th biggest coffee-exporting country, Ecuador is one of the few countries to produce both of the two significant beans consumed worldwide: Arabica and Robusta. Despite that fact, many Manabi farmers in the north-west of the country struggle to make a decent living. The already small growing areas in the region have been hit by climate change and soil degradation, leading to small crop production.
To overcome that challenge, the FECAFEM was created in 2004 to organise coffee production around targeted niche markets by focusing on productivity, quality and commercialisation. The cooperative’s goal is to use centralised technical support, organisation and administrative capabilities to improve the living standards of the 150 families inside the organisation. The first result of that vision was the acquisition of organic certification.
To take it a step further, in 2009 the FECAFEM aimed to increase their agricultural resources by diversifying crops and strengthening commercialisation capabilities with the support of the Trade for Development Centre. The TDC worked with the cooperative on four main objectives:
• Produce organic groundnuts to develop the production of derived products such as oil and butter.
o Certify those products with the Fair Trade certification
• Diversify (with groundnuts) the crops to enjoy agroforestry benefits, protect crops, and diversify revenues.
• Train coffee growers in smart agricultural practices (rotation cycles, production of natural fertilisers,…) and reinforce their managerial capabilities.
• Contribute to the exportation of organic-certified products.