16 years ago, 22 producers gathered under a fig tree to set up a new agricultural coffee growers’ co-operative, which is today known as Cooperativa Agrícola Cafetalera San Antonio Limitada (COAGRICSAL).
After years of hard work and professional experience in selling coffee through other second-tier organizations, COAGRICSAL has significantly grown until today, becoming the biggest first-tier organization for fair trade in Honduras. Its coffee exports go over 75 thousand hundredweights, and it has more than 700 members. Recently their products have been diversified by introducing a new product: fine cocoa. Today COAGRICSAL sells directly to customers and is backed by various labels: Símbolo de Pequeños Productores, Fairtrade, Orgánico, Rainforest Alliance, Café Practices y Utz, mostly exporting to Europe, United States and Canada.
More than 1,500 families benefit from COAGRICSAL’s activities: the co-operative offers direct and indirect employment and provides local community with services such as access to the streets, community centres, projects on access to water, school maintenance, police posts, reforestation and many others. Through education projects and scholarships for producers’ children the co-operative supports children and young students giving them the chance to finish their studies, from primary and secondary school to university.
The co-operative’s facilities have also grown considerably thanks to a solid experience which allows for the availability of services such as wet and dry coffee processing, manufacturing, tasting and transport. It also offers its members credit and saving services, as well as certification services.
On 6th November 2010 the organization was visited by about 45 people from different countries, who participated in the fourth CLAC assembly and also travelled to the very heart of Central America to get into the reality of life of small producers in Honduras. During their tour at COAGRICSAL, the participants could appreciate the different facilities to process one of the most sold products all over the world: coffee. They could also visit the cocoa nurseries and the plots of land sown with coffee.
COAGRICSAL is a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Fairtrade Producers (CLAC) and Fairtrade International.