The Cooperativa Agrícola Cafetalera San Antonio, or COAGRICSAL, was founded in 1995 to improve the quality of life in member communities and preserve the environment. By centralizing their harvesting methods around environmentally sustainable practices, the cooperative is acting to revive effected ecosystems. The cooperative includes 800 members, all of which have benefited from their Fair Trade certification through investing premiums into community projects that help strengthen livelihoods, health, sanitation and education. Member farmers pay very close attention to the way their coffee is produced and hold high standards of quality in order to reach global specialty coffee markets.
Specific projects funded by Fair Trade premiums include the following:
Crop Diversification - Cocoa
Attempting to increase income for families that do not produce coffee in the community, COAGRICSAL initiated a project for fine cocoa cultivation. This project aims to plant 2,000 acres of cocoa and offers technical and financial support for the farmers able to work the lands. The cooperative also invested in the creation of a technical department with four certified technicians and one consultant to support Fair Trade and Organic certification of other farms, making sure all regulations and farmers’ questions are answered.
Women's Business Center
COAGRICSAL is implementing a project exclusively for women members and wives of members. The cooperative is creating a business center where women can create and sell crafts and other products to the community for an additional income.
Scholarships provide educational opportunities for cooperative members’ children and encourage community youth to stay in school.