|Founded in 2002
Comprised of 1200 members
|Organic; FLO||1300-2000 meters above sea level|
|Arabica – Typica, Caturra, Bourbon, some Catimor||Sweet, clean, well-balanced, simple, dark chocolate, creamy|
FAPECAFES (Federación Regional de Asociaciones de Pequeños Cafetaleros Ecológicos del Sur), located in the mountainous Amazonian region of southern Ecuador, is an umbrella organization of six primary-level cooperatives growing, processing and exporting green coffee, honey and plantains. FAPECAFES was established in 2002 to improve the conditions of the farmers through organic and sustainable farming practices. In 2003, the federation received Fair Trade certification.
FAPECAFES has been producing coffee for export since its inception, with most of its growth as a result of the support of the Belgian development organization VECO Andino. Spread across 6 associations in southern Ecuador, FAPECAFES’ 1200 coffee farmer members produce some 600,000 pounds of coffee per year, or about 12 containers of export quality green coffee. Approximately 95 percent of FAPECAFES’ members are small-scale farmers, growing on fewer than 10 hectares of land.
Since 2013, Coop Coffees has been sourcing Ecuadorian coffee from two of the primary organizations located in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe. APECAP, founded in 2002, is located in the municipality of Palanda and has approximately 174 members. ACRIM, founded a year later in the neighbouring municipality of Zumba as an offshoot of APECAP, has 135 members. To this day ACRIM and APECAP maintain excellent relations. These two organizations produce nearly 75 percent of the overall volume of FAPECAFES’ coffee, and have considerable leverage in the management and governance of this umbrella cooperative.
Together APECAP and ACRIM have launched their own product designation of origin “Bracamoros” to distinguish it from Peruvian coffee being cultivated across the border.
In 2015, FAPECAFES’ members struggled to cope with roya (coffee leaf rust), and saw production levels drop to almost half from 2014. The base organizations have been encouraging their members to implement control practices, such as foliar sprays of “caldos bordeles” – an “organic-certification accepted” mixutre of lime, sulfur and other minerals to help combat the problem. But many producers are experimenting with their own fermented compost tea by mixing effective microorganisms, milk, vegetable waste and manure. In addition to control methods, the three largest base cooperatives in FAPECAFES – APECAP, ACRIM and PROCAFEQ have been renovating vigorously, and expect production to recover significantly in 2017.
Since there is a limited amount of high quality washed Ecuadorian Arabica coffee available in the world market, and low production due to roya, FAPECAFES has introduced a commercial strategy to place itself as one of the highest quality providers of Ecuadorian coffees. Since 2008 it has been sponsoring the “Bracamoros Coffee” festival, including a cupping competition, in the Zamora-Chinchipe area. Organized by APECAP and ACRIM, they have been selecting and awarding prizes to the highest scoring coffees submitted by their small-scale farmers. Since 2014, Cooperative Coffees has been participating in the cupping panel of this competition and in the subsequent micro-lot auction. Such quality initiatives have in many cases quadrupled the income of farmers, and helped raise the profile of Ecuadorian coffees.
The Bracamoros competition has served as part of an initiative to re-activate coffee production in Ecuador, brought about with support of the national Ministry of Agriculture since 2012, which has sought to raise overall yields through increased investment in production, and raising the quality profile of Ecuadorian coffee in international markets.