Meet the farmers whose lives have changed by Fairtrade

Roberto Lopez

Roberto Arturo Lopez is not a lucky man.

He was born and raised in Honduras by his mum. In rural areas, approximately one out of five Hondurans live in extreme poverty, or on less than US$1.90 per day.

Despite Roberto’s obvious intelligence and desire to learn, it is a very challenging road out of poverty for even the brightest of children.

Since early childhood, he was taught the ways of coffee farming from both his mother and grandfather who worked on small coffee farms. Having grown up in a tiny village in the mountains, Roberto spent most of his days with his mother helping on the farm. A quick learner with an aptitude for math and languages, Roberto’s family dreamt of a great future for him. Roberto craved education the way we crave a latte. He yearned for another lesson in math the way we yearn for our afternoon cuppa.

With top marks in school, Roberto was accepted to study Economics at University. Halfway through college, however, his mother was no longer able to afford his tuition and he would have to cease his studies. The prices she was making from her coffee farm weren’t enough.

She heard about a Fairtrade co-operative (COAGRICSAL) not too far away that offered better and consistent prices for her coffee and also offered scholarships for farmers’ children. Roberto was able to finish his studies thanks to one of these scholarships. After graduating he applied for a job at the very co-op that enabled him to finish his education and has been working there ever since.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my work is visiting not just the farms, but the families working there; to listen to their dreams and goals, and share a moment with the children listening to them talk about who they want to be when they grow up”

Roberto Arturo Lopez, COAGRICSAL co-op

Now Roberto is employed by COAGRICSAL as Sustainability Program Manager, having worked his from way up from Certification Program Officer and Production Manager.

Currently, Roberto is working to improve the quality of life of the members of the cooperative and involving the women and young members in management programmes and technological development to promote better farming practices and reduce contamination.

When you choose to drink Fairtrade coffee at your workplace, you are supporting projects like the scholarship programme in COAGRICSAL that help the youth of the developing world access employment.  Make the choice to promote positivity and entrepreneurship and gain an enhanced sense of purpose for both your colleagues and for the Fairtrade farmers you’re supporting – apply today to become a Fairtrade Workplace.