Conversation with Juan Luis of Aprainores

Aprainores is a cashew nut producer group from El Salvador.

Juan Luis, what contribution do you value most from Equal Exchange?

Firstly, the value to producers is helping us to see this as a business not just a project. It is a business in a good way.

Before the producers were not really involved, only the general manager, now they are involved.

Hence the decision to send me so I could report to the membership. It builds trust, capacity and understanding. In a way people can now ask me how it is, not the general manager.

This year we used the Fairtrade premium to repay debts of the cooperative. We hope to split the premium this year.

What are your aspirations as a producer of cashew nuts?

Simply to live a better life, to educate my children further, and to help others in the community receive the same. Until now they have struggled.

I live with my partner, and have three children, Angel Nicolas (14), Luis Alexandro (12) and Hiro 11, all boys. Our family has 5 sisters and 3 brothers. One of my brothers was killed in the war.

I am the only farmer left from the original group who received land after the conflict. I was a guerillero.

The others have gone to the United States or the city. Life has been very hard. There are five families sharing our 5 manzanas. We have about 250 cashew trees that we work together.

All decisions are discussed together. When I have time I coach our local football team, boys from nearby, it is not much.

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