5-8-14  |  Success Story

5 de Junio Coffee Cooperative: Gisella’s Story

BY: Anina Hewey

Gisella explaining coffee processing at her home in Las Sabanas, Nicaragua

Looking back, Gisella Hoyes can clearly remember her stance before the 5 de Junio Cooperative was established in Las Sabanas, a small rural village in Nicaragua. She recalls, “I said [to the other members], we should join together to collaborate and grow. Before, we were working alone… I said the cooperative will help us advance, it will help us support each other.” She chose to take the opportunity and, along with other local coffee farmers, became a founding member of the 5 de Junio Cooperative.

Her decision has paid off, and today, the cooperative represents over 300 small producers from Las Sabanas and the surrounding region. With the cooperative, Gisella’s life as a farmer growing on 3.5 acres of land has changed. Before, to sell her coffee, she had to make an arduous two hour trip to reach the closest large market. Her coffee was often ruined during the journey and bargaining forced prices down, leaving her with only tiny profits.

Coffee at the cooperative, ready for processing

The cooperative has enabled Gisella to receive fair pay for her labor by accessing more lucrative markets, including exports, through the added value of fair trade certification. She has received training in organic cultivation to produce high quality coffee while reducing environmental impact and preserving the land. In addition, she has taken advantage of available credit to purchase new tools, and technical consultants have helped her and the other farmers address issues with pests that may otherwise have shut down production.

Support from the cooperative and local programs from Fabretto have transformed the lives of Gisella’s entire family. Her children and siblings are also members, and her three grandchildren receive support from Fabretto education programs. “We [the farmers] are organized now,” she says proudly. “The cooperative is a respected, prestigious organization because we work with honor and responsibility.” With the cooperative on her side, Gisella has been empowered to support her family as they continue to move toward a better future.

 

Gisella’s son and grandson show off one of the family pets

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