Monday, April 30, 2012

New Field Partner: La Union Regional gives farmers the tools they need to grow fair trade coffee

We’re thrilled to announce the addition of our newest Field Partner Union Regional de Huatusco!

La Union Regional is a member-owned coffee cooperative based in Veracruz, Mexico. With a membership network of over 2,000 small-plot farmers in over 40 communities, La Union Regional sets itself apart by being one of the few cooperatives with a fair trade license and its own coffee processing plant.

By helping its members gather, process and export their coffee, La Union Regional strives to improve the lives of its small farmers. Not only does it secure a fair price for their labor and goods, it also provides technical assistance to improve crop yields, encourages eco-friendly practices, and offers other health and education programs.

Kiva’s partnership will enable La Union Regional develop its low-interest lending program to help even more farmers sustainably grow their incomes. To start, we plan to help the cooperative offer three types of loan products:

1) Coffee production loans which will help farmers expand their existing crop yields and increase their incomes. These loans are designed to fit the agricultural cycle, allowing farmers to make purchases during planting season and repay following the harvest.

2) Organic conversion loans to help farmers transition from conventional to organic coffee production methods. Farmers cite high costs as the main barrier to converting to organic production. With Kiva loans, they have a great opportunity to use sustainable practices that help the environment and limit the effects of climate change in their regions.

3) Field renewal loans to help farmers swap out their old coffee plants that are no longer producing at capacity for new plants. New plants generally take three years to mature, temporarily reducing crop yield. A loan can buffer this transition.
All three loan types will help farmers smooth out their irregular finances throughout the year, helping to protect them from the cycle of poverty if unexpected expenses arise like medical bills.

We are proud to join Fair Trade USA in enthusiastically supporting La Union Regional.

For more information on Union Regional de Huatusco, check out its Kiva Field Partner profile.

Got questions? Send them to To understand more about our partnerships with non-microfinance organizations, check out our Kiva Innovations blog series.

photo courtesy of Rogiro