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La Maison du Coco is not only concerned with the quality and diversity of its products but also with the people who produce and harvest the coconuts.

We therefore decided in 2014 to join the process of "Fair Trade " with our farmers.

Fair Trade

Fair Trade is a trade designed to provide fair compensation to producers in developing countries so that they can develop their businesses in the long term and improve their standard of living. It contributes to sustainable development.

Fair Trade takes the form of a partnership between developed country distributors and producers in developing countries to ensure that they have a minimum income regardless of market fluctuations. It gives them a greater share than the usual trading practice based on the price paid by the consumer.

Although it has existed for several decades, Fair Trade has been developing strongly since the beginning of the 2000s and mainly concerns food and craft products. A recent study in 2018 shows that 78% of European consumers are willing to pay a premium price if they know that it will go back to the producers !

Fair Trade and La Maison du Coco

In order to help our partners, we decided to set up in 2014 the "Fair Trade" system with our farmers.

Our coconut manufacturers-processors are fully certified as Fair Trade by FairTSA, an American association specialized in this certification. It offers products derived from coconut, and also from bananas. It is located in the tropical South and the warm Center of the Philippines. They buy coconuts from many small farmers in local towns and villages, especially in the primary forest of the surrounding hills.
The system works in 2 ways : an equitable relationship is established between farmers and processors for the purchase of the nuts. Then an equitable relationship is created between the processors and La Maison du Coco on all our retail products. At the end it is really the farmers that benefit from this system. 

The importance of Fair Trade

In our developed societies we often do not think about safe access to drinking water; we view it as a common property. But, for these local communities in the South Philippines (Mindanao), safe access to clean water can be a life and death issue, and this is not an exaggeration.
Many aquatic pathogens, including both viruses and bacteria, can cause severe diseases. Aquatic pathogens are one of the major causes of infant mortality. Health management in these rural areas of the Philippines is poor or non-existent: with a national health budget of 6 euros per person per year (source 2010), and most being spent in urban centres, this is not surprising.

With an average annual income per family of 1,850 euros (154 € per month), little or no public transport, and very limited access to care facilities, this simple manually-operated well reduces the hardness of life for 200 people, and can save many young lives.

How it works

Once harvested, the coconuts are brought to the processing unit. By opening the nuts we recover the coconut water; from the coconut meat we obtain the milk, cream and coconut oil, whose nutritional benefits are well established. Farmers are paid a fair price for the coconuts they provide.

Every year, an inspector visits the farms, as well as the processing unit, and checks whether the requirements of Organic and Fair Trade for farmers and factory workers are being properly respected.

It assesses whether the fair price has been paid, whether the community development project is progressing according to plan, and other topics such as health, safety at work, and level of equitable wages.

The inspector then sends his report to the certification agency, where the report is verified in accordance with the standards of the Fair Trade agency, FairTSA. When it is seen that everything is in order, a Fair Trade certificate is granted and issued.

La Maison du Coco actively supports community development

Development projects funded by La Maison du Coco are planned for local communities. Such projects are part of the Fair Trade business and are the operational responsibility of "FairTSA".  

This includes:

  • Training programs
  • Support for farmers' professional development projects
  • Support for community development projects: currently, the creation and maintenance of wells in the Philippines.

The community development project is chosen by the group of farmers/producers, and a plan is determined. With our coconut supplier, the first project chosen by the communities was the drilling of two wells in the Barangays (villages) of Conception and Camanga. The reason for choosing this project is simple and obvious: before our intervention, it took the inhabitants of Conception about 2 hours to fetch drinking water; to those of Camanga, 1 hour and a half.   

Some years ago, the first well in the village of Conception was drilled. In early November, as is the custom in the Philippines, the definitive well was blessed during an inauguration ceremony, in the presence of many villagers and some employees of our manufacturer-processor.
The next step in the community development process has been the drilling for the second well at Camanga village. Then the community of farmers will be able to meet and determine the next project.

Our future projects in the community development process

Since one year the communities have decided to develop the project of solar panels in their villages. It is so obvious that access to electricity is difficult : networks and connections are rare and hazardous. The project is on-going.

Step by step, the process of community development will change the lives of villagers. Not only can they be proud that their work is rewarded fairly, but they also have the realization that their voice is important in creating a community in accordance with their needs and wishes.

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Coco house
16 avenue des Chateaupieds
92500 Rueil Malmaison
01 86 53 54 03