Unión de Productores Agropecuarios (UPROAGRO) is an association of small-scale coffee growers located in northern Bolivia.
Unión de Productores Agropecuarios (UPROAGRO) was established in November 1997 by a group of 16 local producers.
The organisation was created to export members’ high quality Bolivian coffee to the international market, with support from a government project called “Café Mojsa”. Currently the organisation has 259 members, whose coffee meets both Fairtrade and organic standards; it received Fairtrade certification in 2003. Farmers also grow other crops such as achiote, citrus and aromatic herbs.
The objectives of the organisation are diversification of members’ crops; promoting organic production and improving quality using innovative technology that drives economic development while preserving natural resources (flora and fauna); to increase access to international markets and sell their commodities at a fair price, with the overall aim of improving the quality of lives of their members and their families.
UPROAGRO is located in the Chijchipani region of Caranavi Province, in northern Bolivia. The Chijchipani region has eleven communities where 493 families live, 259 of which are members of UPROAGRO. The organisation is headed by a Board of Directors whose five members are democratically elected every two years. There is also a Department of Marketing, a Department of Production and Processing, and a Department of Internal Certification.
The coffee produced by UPROAGRO is of very high quality and members have obtained fourth and seventh positions in two international coffee quality competitions (Cupping the Mountain’s Peak 2003 and Cup of Excellence 2004).
UPROAGRO provides important social values both internally and in the region. Many members have children studying in schools in La Paz city and elsewhere in the region, and many other young people are accessing training in professions which could provide services to the organisation and their communities in the future.
UPROAGRO has become a benchmark for other organisations and has helped strengthen other organisations by sharing their experiences and knowledge of coffee production and marketing.
Benefits of Fairtrade
UPROAGRO has used the premium they receive from sales of Fairtrade certified coffee to start up several projects. These include:
- Improvements to the infrastructure at the Tilata processing plant.
- Improvements to healthcare in the area. Providing a free breakfast to all children at local schools.
- Buying new equipment for the processing plants.
- Training for members of the co-operative in improving the productivity and quality of their coffee.
- Construction of a sanitation plant in the town of Tilata.