With the help of the Fairtrade Premium, which after rule changes producer organisations are free to spend more flexibly to minimise the spread of COVID-19, producer organisations have been able to reach out and support those most in need.
At the CAFICO Fine Coffee co-operative in Corquín, a municipality in Honduras, one of their greatest principles is solidarity. To help tackle COVID-19 the organisation is distributing food and hygiene kits among the people of Corquín.
On the new distribution arrangement, Sergio Romero, CAFICO’s manager, said: ‘As a socially responsible organisation, it is in these moments when we feel more committed with our fellow citizens. We are contributing to supply in this need, joining efforts with the government. We thank our family and all the CAFICO family because this initiative is a joint effort from all the technical team, all the associated producers, it is an effort of all of us.’
At the COMSA Organic Coffee co-op in Marcala, La Paz, another municipality in Honduras, members acted to help the doctors and nurses who risk their own health by caring for others in the community. To the healthcare professionals in Marcala, COMSA made a donation of biosafety equipment to protect them while treating patients during the pandemic.
The donation included thermometers, masks, protection lenses, shoe protectors, 2,200 disposable caps, face protection masks, isolation and protective suits, and surgical gowns.
Edil Santos, health chief for the Marcala region, thanked COMSA for supporting the health sector: ‘The PPE will be used in the COVID-19 response center for Marcala and the communities’, he said.
COMSA’s manager, Rodolfo Peñalba, said: ‘It is our responsibility to know that there is a good group of people collaborating, first to avoid the virus reaching our community, and in the case the virus reaches the people that are going to lead the effort (to fight the virus), that they are protected.’
In El Salvador, The Los Pinos co-op have put in tremendous effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. With the key focus to implement a biosafety protocol to avoid contagion of COVID-19 among their members and workers, they have installed a hand-washing station, and introduced a new rule and system to sanitise the shoes of anyone that enters the co-op´s installations. With the help of the Premium, the co-op has been able to keep up the economic subsidy for their 25 elderly members, meaning retired and less economically active older members of the community continue to be financially supported.
At Fairtrade, we are encouraged by the news of how the Fairtrade system is enabling Central American co-ops to use their Premium funding to help their communities. This coupled with the Fairtrade Producer Relief Fund and Fairtrade Producer Resilience Fund will address some of producers’ most immediate needs. However, these funds aren’t enough to meet all the needs of every producer affected by the pandemic, which is why we’re committed to continuing to look for additional funding sources within the system, as well as with partners. Together we can help tackle this global crisis.