The Federación Campesina del Cauca (Farmers’ Federation of Cauca, commonly referred to as FCC) is a large cooperative representing six smaller coffee farmer organizations located in the rollings hills of Cauca, Colombia. It was founded in 1971 with the mission of serving small producers, giving them access to agronomy training and developing young leaders in the community. In that time the cooperative also worked hard to protect the rights of farmers and keep the ownership of their land—a process that required the effort of many people in the organization.
After four decades of work, FCC applied for fair trade certification and obtained it in 2003. In the process, the cooperative learned how to perform administrative duties and serve its producers, and in the process became one of the strongest social coffee organizations in the Cauca region. It was not an easy process, but it helped FCC become a sustainable partner. With the arrival of Don Herney Chaguendo, the cooperative’s current general manager, as well as the support of the board, FCC established the Specialty Coffee Program with the support of ACDI/VOCA, an NGO that uses USAID funds. This platform helped FCC grow rapidly in the specialty coffee industry.
FCC maintains a membership of approximately 700 small producers, 29% of which are women. FCC is a network of small producers, cooperatively working toward strengthening their community.