To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight we met up with Ivania Calderon Peralata, a Fairtrade, organic coffee producer from Nicuragua, to learn more about how the Fairtrade Premium has helped to improve her life and local community.
1. Where are you from and how are you involved in Fairtrade?
I’m from a small community in the North of Nicaragua. I have been growing Fairtrade and organic coffee since 1998 and I’m a partner of Cooperativa La Providencia. The cooperative is made up of 359 small producers, 42 of which are women. I’m very proud to be a coffee producer and to be able to get involved in events with the Fairtrade Foundation, such as being able to travel overseas to share my knowledge and to see the end product being sold in-store.
2. What made you become involved with Fairtrade in the first place?
As an individual its impossible to sell your coffee for good prices in the international markets. The Fairtrade Foundation allows me to be able to sell my coffee for a good price to the American and European markets. The Fairtrade premium means I receive a better income to be able to support my family and wider community.
3. How has being involved with Fairtrade improved your life?
Since becoming fairtrade certified my coffee production has tripled. The Fairtrade Premium has allowed my community to buy new machinery and tools to improve production. The premium has not only helped to improve production but has also been spent on improving the roads, schools and hospitals in the community. Health programmes have been set up to inform and educate women about female cancer; which has resulted in saving the lives of two women. The premium has also been spent on improving sports facilities for teenagers to prevent them getting into trouble or involved with drugs.
4. Do you want your family to carry on in the coffee industry?
I’m a mother of five and my children are committed to carrying on the family business. They will be the next generation to take the business forward. My daughter is training to be a barista and adding more skills to the business.
5. Why should our customers be bothered about buying Fairtrade coffee?
Consumers should buy fairtrade coffee because it takes hard work to produce the coffee in the first place, workers should be paid a fair price for this. Resources are also expensive to grow good quality coffee. My organic coffee helps to protect the environment, my coffee is grown under the shade of the trees using no artificial fertilizers. We are helping to fight climate change. Generating job opportunities for teenagers, stopping them immigrating to other countries.