Business and Law

Fairtrade, Chocolate and Co-operatives

A talk by Haris Ulises Lopez Picado, of SOPPEXCCA Co-Operative Nicaragua, to mark Fairtrade Fortnight

Haris Ulises Lopez Picado was born in the village of El Salto in Jinotega, Nicaragua in 1989 to two coffee farmers. Haris’ parents are still active members of the coffee cooperative, Soppexcca, where his brother is also a barista. The Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarias (UCA) SOPPEXCCA was founded in Jinotega, Nicaragua in 1997. After finishing school in El Salto, Haris worked for several years on his parents coffee farm. He then got a scholarship from the cooperative to study at university. He studied for five years at the university UNAN León Jinotega to become a secondary school teacher. Haris was given the opportunity to take part in a pilot rural development project, financed by Soppexcca and the Nicaraguan government. He took courses in natural resource management, coffee cultivation and sustainable agriculture.

For the last four years, Haris has been working at the cooperative’s new chocolate factory in Jinotega, which was set up by the cooperative as a diversification project. At the factory they produce various chocolate products, and have just had their first export to the US and Germany. The factory is in the process of becoming Fairtrade certified. Haris believes that Fairtrade has had numerous benefits to him, his family and the community. Thanks to Fairtrade Soppexcca can “pay higher prices for the coffee and offer special programmes for young people, training them in the cultivation of coffee. The cooperative has set up various social projects, including the construction of a school. They have also improved the road from the town to the village and support the community when landslides occur (blocking the street). The cooperative are also running various environmental activities”.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Business and Law
Time: 1pm -2pm
Location: Council Room
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Noreen Byrne
021 490 3358

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