EL CEIBO CO-OPERATIVE, BOLIVIA
For the El Ceibo co-operative (Central de Co-operativas Agropecuria-industrial) in the Alto Beni region in northeast Bolivia, fair trade has brought new independence and empowerment to farmers who were previously exploited.
Through fair trade these farmers have been able to take hold of their own production, increase their marketing power, and provide for their communities with dignity.
In the 1960’s colonists were given small farms and had to join a government run co-operative. When the government co-operative went bankrupt in the 1970’s, many farmers organised into their own co-operatives. 36 of these smaller co-operatives united in 1977 to form El Ceibo.
Today the goals of El Ceibo are to improve the living conditions of the members and improve agricultural practices. The co-operative offers incentives for organic production, has a fund for community projects and activities, and a Safety Fund for medical emergencies.