Cooparaiso, BID International Quality Crown in London

January 29, 2010

The President of Cooparaiso and Brazilian Federal Deputy, Carlos Melles, received the International Quality Crown Award in London, from the President of Business Initiative Directions, Jose E. Prieto.

Cooparaiso, awarded International Quality Crown by Business Initiative Directions, is one of the largest cooperatives in Brazil and one of the biggest companies in the agricultural sector, an area that represents a third part of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Cooparaiso has managed to give support to the coffee production sector, one of the main driving forces of the Brazilian economy. The company has continuously striven to maintain the production levels and to find new ways to publicize the company’s products and services through the development of calendars that can assure the sales will be planned and organized.
All this work is carried out thanks to courses, training sessions, meetings, and technical encounters between employees and clients. Cooparaiso bases its work on cooperation and on constant improvement of its services.
More than 4,000 people comprise this cooperative, which has an income of almost US$ 100 million. Its achievements have made the company grow in its sector and country, and have also brought Cooparaiso the BID Award for Quality, which symbolizes business success and leadership.


Coffee, the green seed

January 29, 2010

Coffee, the green seed

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. Due to its caffeine content, coffee has a stimulating effect in humans. Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide.
Coffee was first consumed in the ninth century, when it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia. From there, it spread to Egypt and Yemen, and by the 15th century, had reached Azerbaijan, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.
Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown species are Coffea canephora (also known as Coffea robusta) and Coffea arabica; less popular species are Liberica, Excelsa, Stenophylla, Mauritiana, Racemosa. These are cultivated in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted, undergoing several physical and chemical changes. They are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.
Coffee has played an important role in many societies throughout history. In Africa and Yemen, it was used in religious ceremonies. As a result, the Ethiopian Church banned its secular consumption until the reign of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. It was banned in Ottoman Turkey in the 17th century for political reasons, and was associated with rebellious political activities in Europe.
Coffee is an important export commodity. In 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries, and in 2005, it was the world’s seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value.
Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment. Many studies have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and certain medical conditions; whether the overall effects of coffee are positive or negative is still disputed

Max Havelaar, the fare trade coffee

January 29, 2010

Max Havelaar

Stichting Max Havelaar (or the Max Havelaar Foundation in English) is the Dutch member of FLO International, which unites 23 Fairtrade producer and labelling initiatives across Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Several of these corresponding organizations in other European countries also use the Max Havelaar name. The name comes from Max Havelaar, which is both the title and the main character of a Dutch 19th-century novel (written by Multatuli) critical of Dutch colonialism in the Dutch East Indies.
The Max Havelaar label, the world’s first Fairtrade Certification Mark, was officially launched by Stichting Max Havelaar on 15 November 1988, under the efforts of Nico Roozen, Frans van der Hoff and Dutch ecumenical development agency Solidaridad. The label, used to distinguish Fairtrade products from conventional ones, aims to improve “the living and working conditions of small farmers and agricultural workers in disadvantaged regions”. The first fairly traded coffee originated from the UCIRI cooperative in Mexico and was imported by Dutch company Van Weely, roasted by Neuteboom, before being sold directly to worldshops and, for the first time, to mainstream retailers across the Netherlands.
Today, Fairtrade products are available in several Dutch supermarket chains such as Jumbo, which sells an average of 18 Fairtrade products per store and Super de Boer, which sells an average of 17 products per store. Fairtrade products are also available at Albert Heijn supermarkets across the Netherlands.
In 2006, Fairtrade labelled sales in the Netherlands amounted to € 41 million, a 12 % year-to-year increase.


December 18, 2009

A farmer walks towards sisal plantations in the outskirts of Morogoro, Tanzania. Tanzania is the world's fourth largest sisal producer. The Uluguru Mountains can be seen in the background.

Agriculture is the production of food and goods through farming. Agriculture was the key development that led to the rise of human civilization, with the husbandry of domesticated animals and plants (i.e. crops) creating food surpluses that enabled the development of more densely populated and stratified societies. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science.
Agriculture encompasses a wide variety of specialties and techniques, including ways to expand the lands suitable for plant raising, by digging water-channels and other forms of irrigation. Cultivation of crops on arable land and the pastoral herding of livestock on rangeland remain at the foundation of agriculture. In the past century there has been increasing concern to identify and quantify various forms of agriculture. In the developed world the range usually extends between sustainable agriculture (e.g. permaculture or organic agriculture) and intensive farming (e.g. industrial agriculture).
Modern agronomy, plant breeding, pesticides and fertilizers, and technological improvements have sharply increased yields from cultivation, and at the same time have caused widespread ecological damage and negative human health effects. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry such as intensive pig farming (and similar practices applied to the chicken) have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal cruelty and the health effects of the antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals commonly used in industrial meat production.
The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials. In the 2000s, plants have been used to grow biofuels, biopharmaceuticals, bioplastics, and pharmaceuticals. Specific foods include cereals, vegetables, fruits, and meat. Fibers include cotton, wool, hemp, silk and flax. Raw materials include lumber and bamboo. Other useful materials are produced by plants, such as resins. Biofuels include methane from biomass, ethanol, and biodiesel. Cut flowers, nursery plants, tropical fish and birds for the pet trade are some of the ornamental products.
In 2007, about one third of the world’s workers were employed in agriculture. The services sector has overtaken agriculture as the economic sector employing the most people worldwide. Despite the size of its workforce, agricultural production accounts for less than five percent of the gross world product (an aggregate of all gross domestic products).