A young cooperative, Union y Fe was founded in 2014 in the well-established growing region of San Ignacio, Cajamarca. The cooperative has 250 producers who farm a total of 873 hectares of certified coffee. 650 of these hectares are Fair Trade + Organic and cultivated under the shade of fruit and forest trees. It's through this shade-grown method that Union y Fe are able to preserve the natural environment and uphold with organic production standards.
Although just a few years old, the members of Union y Fe have a clear vision for what they want to accomplish as an organization, with environmental consciousness and producer wellbeing at the top of the list. Union y Fe provides expert agronomist training for its members in areas including agronomic best practices, pest control, soil analysis, fertilization, certification compliance, harvesting, and post-harvest processing. They also help members maintain food security by showing them how to raise small animals and maintain vegetable gardens.
With a remarkable commitment to quality, Union y Fe is well on their way to becoming a leader in Peruvian coffee production. Their producers hand pick only the ripest cherries, followed by immediate de-pulping and fermentation for 15-30 hours. They are then dried individually by producers on covered raised beds for 10-18 days until the coffee reaches optimal moisture content. Each individual producer delivers their coffee to Union y Fe’s warehouse which has been carefully designed to preserve quality until the coffee can be transported to the regional dry mill and exported.
One of the ways Union y Fe has sought to distinguish itself in the market is through its micro-lot program. Committed to equal opportunities between men and women, since 2016 the Cooperative has been promoting the work of the members, with the purpose of marketing separately the coffee they produce, emphasizing the improvement of productivity and quality.
Sumak Warmi, which means “Beautiful Women” in the local indigienous language, is one such lot. The lot is comprised exclusively of the highest quality coffee grown by the cooperative’s 50 women producers. The lot provides an opportunity for the women member to be recognized and rewarded for the meticulous care they give to their plants. Production of Sumak Warmi contributes to programs aimed at improving the quality of life for Union y Fe members.