As humans, we naturally gravitate to what works for us and benefits us the most. It’s the same for companies. Originally, Coopedota was a just another coffee company. But then the farmers realized that they would be much better off if they combined the resources and worked together instead of competing with each other. Together they formed a cooperative. These 900 members represent different farms that are solely only a part of the Coopedota production. These independent farmers give their beans directly to Coopedota, where the rest of the processing of the coffee takes place. This greatly benefits the community, especially in this region where it’s more isolated and business would be much more difficult if these farms were working with a traditional large company. It also keeps the farm life more personal and traditional since they don’t have to constantly adapt to the large companies standards. Regional meetings once or twice a year is all the communication that this cooperative needs, which gives each member and their farms their own space.
Being a cooperative gives Coopedata a lot more freedom with pricing. Since the farms are not competing with each other, the prices stay much lower and each farmer gets a share of the profit. It’s a good thing and a bad thing that everyone is treated equally, depending on how big your farm is. Being a cooperative also gives you more leeway when dealing with the coffee world as well. ICAFE doesn’t get to force regulations on the processing company and middlemen don’t have to be used. The direct line of business greatly lessens costs when it comes to employment, transportation, and final shelf price.
There are however, some drawbacks to working as a cooperative instead of a traditional company. Since there are so many members, it’s important that all farms run the same way. For example, this coffee cannot be organic because in doing so you’d have to control all 900 farms, plus the neighboring areas of each region due to environmental spreading of pesticides. In the end, it gets to be way too costly to provide that for the entire cooperative. Even if you’re one of the larger farms, you still share the profit with the smaller farms. Which is nice for equal size farms because there’s no competition, but it’s unfortunate for the larger farms. As with everything else, there’s always good and bad, and you just have to see which side outweighs the other for your specific situation in order to make the best decision for you.