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Coffee comes to the rescue of the Costa Rican environment.

The 1990's seem to have become the decade of environmental concerns and it is no surprise that the coffee industry is getting in on all the "recyclable" excitement. Any environmentally conscious consumer would think nothing of spending an additional 25 to help save the rainforests in Costa Rica, and Coocare, a Costa Rican coffee manufacturer, is focusing on this eco-conscious consumer with their new coffee product-- Foresta.

Costa Rica is a country where you can find one of the richest biospheres in the world. Housing 208 species of mammals, 850 birds, 132 amphibians, 220 reptiles, and almost 20,000 species of plants, one might wonder why any aid at all is needed for such as extensive ecosystem. Unfortunately, Costa Rica, like many other parts of the world, is being threatened by rapid deforestation, hunting, fires, and contamination. Foresta coffee was born to solve these problems, along with benefiting local coffee growers as well.

Coocare will donate US 25 from each container of Foresta sold to preserve the Costa Rican environment. When asked how that figure was decided upon, Carlos Murillo, manager of Coocare, responded; "US 25 is the cost of one tree in a greenhouse and that is an amount that is accessible to everyone." Currently, Coocare is working with Oxfam in Belgium for them to match the US 25 of each package sold, doubling the donation.

"In the beginning, not many people believed in Foresta," revealed Murillo. "Two years ago they laughed at us, but ever since the success of the brand in Switzerland, they are not laughing anymore." The Foresta concept was born in June 1990 and put into operation in October 1992. From October to the end of November--in just a little over a month-- Foresta raised over USS 6,000.

Everything for Foresta is manufactured in Costa Pica, from the coffee beans to the packaging. "Ecologically, the packaging for Foresta is the best in Costa Rica," said Murillo.

Costa Rica along with the rest of the world, is changing their packaging, striving to become completely biodegradable. In Costa Rlca, 50% less aluminum is being used, and Coocare is looking to find packaging in vacuum packs without aluminum.

"This packaging is perfected in Switzerland, but has yet to come to Costa Pica," said Murillo.

The reforestation of trees is presently occurring in the six cooperatives that supply the coffee for Coocare; Coope Cerro Azul, Coopemontes de Oro, Coope Sarapioui, Coopetila, Coopeldos, and Coope Pilangosta. These six coffee growers, comprising 2,500 farmers, are the smallest producers in the Quanacastle region of Costa Rica-a region that has been deforested by cattle ranchers. Coocare has tried improve the live of the coffee grower and their families by setting up scholarships and establishing small libraries in their communities.

"Foresta is a longterm project and, little by little, we are getting at the point we want to be at," said Murillo. Initially, the monies raised are just aiding the Quanacastle region of Costa Rica, but the vision of Coocare is to expand to other regions. "Foresta will help to increase the income of these farmers. Against the coffee crisis, the only alternative we have is the industrialization of our crops to have better marketing for our small farmers and families."

Coocare, together with the advising of the Project of Agroeconomical consultant bureau of the foundation Friedrich Ebert of Germany, has been the general managers and coordinators of this project. The Swiss Organization of Alternative Commerce OS3, is the exclusive distributor of Foresta in Switzerland, and belongs to the Europe Association of Fair Trade.

Foresta is currently available in Switzerland and will be surfacing in the U.S. and throughout Europe this year. Along with nurturing the environment, the coffee itself, made from the best quality Costa Rican coffee, is also quite good.

For additional information concerning Foresta, contact Coocare at: Apto.153, Canas, Gte., Costa Rica. Tel: (506)69-0328; Fax: (506)690924.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Coocafe's Foresta brand coffee promotes forest preservation
Author:Boxman, Alyson R.
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:Cafe Tournon: sometimes older is better.
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