PROCOCER grew out of the Nicaraguan Small Farmers and Ranchers Union (UNAG) initiative to provide intensive technical assistance to individual, organic coffee producers in the municipalities of Jícaro, Murra, Ciudad Antigua, San Fernando y Jalapa. From that first experience, 150 participants decided to continue working collectively and establish their own organization. PROCOCER members held their first general assembly in October 1999 and the Cooperativa de Servicios Multiples was formally registered.
Membership is open and voluntary; and the organization is controlled democratically with members actively participating in decision-making and policy making for the coop. Representatives are chosen from the farmer groups in their distinct geographical territories to participate in the delegates’ assembly, and required to report back directly to the communities they represent.
In 2003, PROCOCER became one of the founding members of the Association of Cooperatives of Small-Scale Producers (CAFENICA) – which helps promote member-organizations’ coffee and gain support for business management projects. They also are part of the CECOCAFEN central coordinating union of coops, which is now their main source for pre-harvest financing, and export channel and quality control for their Fair Trade and organic green coffee.
PROCOCER coffee is known for its consistently solid cup profile – bright acidity, full body and balanced with deep tobacco, sweet vanilla and soft fruit flavors.
Since 2005, PROCOCER has partnered with a number of local and international allies, helping them to develop their own roasted coffee brand, “El Doradito” for the local market, and facilitating additional technical assistance to strengthen their organization, improve quality control, and improve administration capacity. In 2005, PROCOCER presented their Rural Tourism project to the Nicaraguan United Nations Program and were awarded initial support to enhance their general understanding of the potential for tourism in Las Segovias and their internal capacity to manage the project, as well as some of the up-front costs of the basic infrastructure needed to further develop the project.
PROCOCER maintains a clear mission: to strengthen the organizational and financial capacity of the coop, increase their productive yields, and assure the quality of their coffee in order to meet the demands of the specialty coffee market. They are also working hard to diversify productive and economic activities, in order to improve the well-being of their member families while conserving the environmental balance and natural beauty of their region.
CECOCAFEN, the Central Association of Northern Coffee Cooperatives, was founded in 1997 with initial investments from their 500 producer members and financing support from international lending organizations in order to export their first containers. Today, CECOCAFEN represents farmer families in twelve community--based cooperatives, with more than 100 container-loads of coffee exports per year.
As a unique umbrella organization in the region, CECOCAFEN’s raison d’être is to support members’ production capacity and to promote and sell its members’ coffee in direct and fair trade export contracts to these coveted international niche markets.
CECOCAFEN, with their expert quality control staff in the SolCafé processing plant and cupping lab, offers producer members quality assessments and advice for continual improvements to production and processing practices. With producing communities located in the mountains of Matagalpa, Jinotega and Las Segovias, renowned for rich volcanic soils, high altitudes, and a humid tropical climate – CECOCAFEN members are well positioned to produce consistently high-quality coffees with unique flavor profiles from each of the regions.
Over the course of our lengthy relationship with CECOCAFEN and its cooperative members, we have witnessed the growth and development of their organization. We have worked together to: organize some of our initial region-wide producer and roaster exchange events; source special profile coffee lots to meet our members’ needs; and support each other through the ever-changing landscape of specialty, organic and fair trade markets.
In addition to the smooth operations that have put more than 2.6 million pounds of coffee on the water and eventually to Coop Coffees roasters’ docks, CECOCAFEN has successfully supported local development of their communities through eco-tourism initiatives, a micro-lending program for women entrepreneurs, youth education scholarships from primary up to university levels and many social and cultural activities. The foundation of their operational success rests upon staying focused on three basic elements: producing a quality coffee; establishing programs for ecological practices; and offering equitable opportunities for integrated development of their members’ communities. During visits to the region, we consistently witness these elements reinforcing each other in the field.