Solidarity: a union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests.
It’s really a simple concept, and one we exercise frequently as a worker owned co-operative working directly with producer co-ops in the South. We demonstrate solidarity when providing a highly democratic working environment to our members, when supporting like-minded partners through our non-conventional business model, and when purchasing organic coffee, cocoa and sugar from producer co-ops of small-scale family farmers who rely heavily on our consistent purchasing and unwavering commitment to ensuring they are paid fairly for their hard work.
So when one of our valued producer co-ops, Co-op Norandino, asked if we would participate in the new certification system Small Producers Symbol (SPP) on our Cuisine Camino whole brown sugar (Muscovado) as a show of solidarity, we didn’t hesitate. La Siembra Co-op has been working with Norandino since 2009 when it was Cepicafé, and was instrumental in helping them develop the quality and bring to market their premium organic brown sugar. Cepicafé has since merged with other neighbouring co-ops to become Co-op Norandino, the region’s largest exporter of cocoa, coffee, fruit and sugar from among their 8000 members.
Remarkably, Norandino just opened their new sugar storage and co-packing plant which will allow them to increase capacity by 200%, processing up to 3000 tons of sugarcane per year due to increasing demand for their premium organic brown sugar in international markets. So far this year, Norandino has produced 18,000 pounds of brown sugar, which means an income of 1 million fifty-eight thousand soles in the household economy of the peoples of the Piura highlands.
Co-op Norandino is a founding member of the Small Producer Symbol (SPP) and it’s important to know why. The Small Producer Symbol (SPP) is the first and only fair trade system in the world created and governed by small producer co-ops primarily located in the South and Central America. A not-for-profit organization, SPP’s mandate is to protect small-scale family farming and indigenous land ownership, control their own certifying criteria and empower farmers to make the decisions that are right for them, including setting fair prices for their hard work.
La Siembra Co-op is proud to join Co-op Norandino and participate in SPP with Cuisine Camino whole brown sugar (Muscovado) as a show of solidarity and our integrity in standing with small producers.
Written by Jennifer Alldred, La Siembra worker-owner