Fairtrade certification not only guarantees our growers a minimum price for their grapes, through the sales of our Fairtrade wines, it also provides them with an additional Premium which is invested into various social and economic development projects.
Since receiving Fairtrade certification in 2006, we have invested over $11 million Argentinean pesos in over 30 different projects of varying sizes, to benefit our members, workers and their families in the local communities.
Just some of our projects to date:
· A new secondary school
· A new water facility
· School minibus
· Computer rooms and equipment
· Free IT courses for local communities
· School lunch bursaries
· Equipment for local schools
· Back to school kits for the children and grandchildren of our member & workers
· Free medical equipment and medicines to local first aid centres
· Provision of free fertilizers to members
· Improvements to the local cultural club in Chilecito
· Caring for the environment awareness campaign
· Development of a youth recreation centre
One community in particular which has seen the benefits of La Riojana’s larger projects is the small, isolated village of Tilimuqui situated in a remote area of La Rioja province, a place where many of our workers and their families live. It is in Tilimuqui that people have witnessed first hand the life changing power of Fairtrade and its projects. A place, where a new water supply and secondary school have made an extraordinary impact on people’s lives.
Tilimuqui Water Project
In March 2008, we completed our first joint Fairtrade project with The Co-operative, UK that has provided a clean drinking water supply for the people, including our workers and their families, living in Tilimuqui. Before the water project’s inauguration in 2008, the situation had been desperate for the villagers, affecting their health, hygiene and education. There were days when there was no water at all and in a place where summer time temperatures can reach 45°C, having an erratic water supply made life very hard for the residents.
Tilimuqui School Project
In October 2008, La Riojana began work on a second joint major project with The Co-operative and also with its Swedish importer Giertz Vinimport to build a new secondary school specializing in agricultural studies in the village of Tilimuqui. Before the introduction of the new secondary school, children in Tilimuqui were only offered schooling up until the age of 14, and many children were unable to continue their studies due to the remoteness of the village and the cost of transport to secondary schools in the area.
The newly built school was inaugurated in May 2010 and is expected to benefit hundreds of children in the local region. It has become immensely popular in its short existence and grown dramatically in just a few years, opening with just 33 pupils (2010) to a current intake of over 330 pupils (2015).
The new school represents an icon project for La Riojana. Not only is it the first pre-university technical college to be built in La Rioja province, it is also the first Fairtrade-funded secondary school ever built in Argentina, and is one of the single largest Fairtrade-funded projects in the world.