Pedro Ascencio is a member and marketing coordinator of Las Colinas coffee cooperative in El Salvador. Equal Exchange (one of their coffee suppliers) and Pedro will visit the Jamaica Plain Forum. It will be a great opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with Pedro and hear more about what Fair Trade means to his community, how Fair Trade has evolved over the years with Las Colinasand what opportunities/challenges lie ahead. Please join us for this powerful event, along with yummy Fair-Trade snacks!
Pedro Antonio Ascencio Jiménez, was born on April 8, 1971 in the village of El Nispero in Tacuba, El Salvador.
Pedro has worked in agriculture, particularly with coffee, since he was a child. He com pleted the ninth grade. He is married and has six children. His eldest son is fin ishing high school. Pedro and his family depend on income from coffee.
Pedro joined Las Colinas Cooperative in Tacuba in 1987. Over the years, he has served in various leadership positions of the cooperative. In 1996-97 he served as secretary of the marketing committee. In 1998/1999 he was elected secretary of the administrative committee and in 2003 he became the president of that committee. In 2004 he worked in the processing of coffee. In 2007 he became the manager of coffee processing and marketing operations.
As manager, Pedro ensures the quality of the green coffee from the time the coffee comes to the processing plant until the product is sent to the buyers. He guarantees the processing is done efficiently and according to the work plan approved by the cooperative. He is also responsible for cultivating and maintaining business relations with buyers, sending samples and ensuring they are shipped out on time. This position has given him experience in organic certification and fair trade at the international and national level.
When coffee prices fell, the cooperative had to revise its business model, internally and externally. They moved from conventional to organic farming. Also members of the cooperative contributed with voluntary labor and harvested in a collective manner. This allowed members to guarantee the sustainability of the cooperative.
Equal Exchange has partnered with Las Colinas since 1998. The relationship includes providing a stable, long-term market for Las Colinas’ organic production; and collaborating in quality improvement in harvesting and processing, enabling the payment of premium and super-premium prices for Las Colilnas’ coffees.
Since 2009 Catholic Relief Services has supported Las Colinas through its Café Livelihoods Project. This support has increased productivity of the cooperative and improved the cultivation areas and manufacturing of organic inputs. It also ensures the quality of the investment in infrastructure and processing, as well as the treatment of water residues.
As an active member of the Cooperative, Pedro has the commitment to oversee that resources are used responsibly and effectively. He also works with other members of the cooperative to guarantee a quality product for consumers, while also ensuring the well-being of the producers.