Our relationship with FAPECAFES has been developing over the past two years and finally led to a visit and a purchase in October, 2013.
FAPECAFES was established in 2001 with much support from a Belgian NGO called VECO. It is a union of seven different associations in the mountainous Amazonian region of southern Ecuador. Our coffee this year came from two of these association located in higher altitudes: ACRIN Association in Chito and APECAP in Zumba.
When the going was good FAPECAFES saw fast growth and established processing facilities in 2006, storage facilities and offices, record market prices in 2010 and a growing base of member producers. As an organization, FAPECAFES represents a total of 1700 producers today. Many of these farmers are tending very small parcels of coffee trees and doing so in a very passive manner however. This method of farming in conjunction with a crippling epidemic of coffee leaf rust has lowered yields from 20 containers 3 or 4 years ago, to just 12 containers this year.
Low market prices is a chronic problem for producers but in addition, a lack of government support for small-scale farmers in Ecuador makes the economic situation for farmers even more precarious. Lack of money means a lack of technical coffee farming knowledge and minimal capacity to invest in replanting new trees, compost application, and general upkeep of the farm.
This year Just Us! paid $2.60/lb for FAPECAFES coffee. That is more than 35% higher than the current minimum Fair Trade Organic price and the premiums will be returned to the individual associations within FAPECAFES where democratic decisions will be made to invest the money in a simple health care system at APECAP as well as on farm investments at ACRIN.
Date Established: 2001
Members: approximately 1700
Social Programs: Health Care