Trust – Leading Locally, The Cooperative Way

Part 4: The Impact

The main objective of the program was to promote greater inclusivity and sustainable economic development of small-scale producers, especially vulnerable populations. Through the IVC cooperative agreement, FECOPROD changed the lives of many families and communities.  Here’s a snapshot of the impact:

  • A total of 18,900 agricultural producers across 360 cooperatives and 19 indigenous communities benefitted from the program. Of this, more than 8,200 women producers, (44%) improved their agricultural production and increased their income. 
  • Almost 200 organizations such as committees, associations, and small cooperatives were assisted in different aspects of organizational improvement; and of these, 168 demonstrated improved organizational performance.
  • More than 13,000 producers expanded their market reach and increased their income by an average of 60% per month. The sales generated by these producers totaled $37 million dollars between the years 2014 and 2023. 

This economic growth within communities improved the lives of families, resulting in more opportunities for the younger population, allowing them to stay, or return to their communities to pursue their careers. The next generation of community builders are now professionals, technicians, and university graduates, who are applying their knowledge on family farms and in their communities.

About 34,000 indigenous people from 290 indigenous communities benefited from this program.  FEDECOVERA assisted these communities to attain official forms of identification that are critical for the protection of their identity and civil rights as it gives them access to state services and programs that include healthcare, education, and access to clean water. 

Making a difference at the cooperative level: La Cooperativa Ko´eju Ltda.

La Cooperativa Ko´eju Ltda was formed in 2014 with 18 members to produce, collect and sell milk. To help improve their operations and increase income, the cooperative also received a tank and other equipment from a state program. Together, they were collecting approximately 75,000 liters of milk per year.

In 2015, to further improve their operations and income, the cooperative became a partner of the IVC program. These members strengthened their farm production by acquiring proper equipment, learning how to operate them effectively, and increase knowledge on how to manage the business. This proved to be a success — by the end of the 2015, milk production increased to 130,000 liters, increasing their income by 25%. This continued to grow as more dairy farmers joined the cooperative.

In 2021, FECOPROD’s IVC program team approved the cooperative’s request for financial support to purchase equipment to produce two types of cheese. By the end of the year, La Cooperativa Ko´eju Ltda produced 1,435 kilos of Paraguayan cheese and 250 kilos of Mozzarella cheese. 

For the members, 2023 was a banner year. The cooperative collected 360,000 liters of milk from 30 member producers, and income increased by 50% since being a part of the IVC program. Their cheese production reached 145,000 kilos of Paraguayan cheese and 100 kilos of Mozzarella cheese.

Making a difference at the individual level: A future for Liduvina

So, what do all the numbers mean? For individuals it meant a lot, not only in improved incomes but also in improved livelihoods. FECOPROD included Fundación Visión as an implementing partner of the IVC project, to reach the indigenous communities. This group traveled to the interior of the country, to find and help treat patients with eye disease.

During one visit, a 10-year-old girl named Liduvina caught their attention. She had glaucoma, a rare phenomenon in children. Her vision was very poor, and she could barely see beyond 3-6 feet. After an evaluation by a specialist from Fundación Visión, the decision was made to operate on her, and perform other treatments to improve her vision. The surgery, which included replacing both her lenses, was a success. Today, her vision has improved, and she is beginning a new journey in life. 

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