Fecovita stands for the Federation of Argentine Viticulture Cooperatives; this group comprises 5,000 winegrowers that makeup 29 cooperatives. This group’s control of the wine market totals at 22 percent, with it owning roughly 30,000 hectares of land as of 2015 and producing over 260 million liters of wine in 2014. There are many benefits of Fecovita throughout Argentina.
The wineries that benefit from Fecovita operate as officially recognized Fairtrade producers. In this case, Fairtrade is an accredited certification company that works to provide a more equitable trade system for farmers and workers across the globe. Only four countries out of the 50 wine-producing countries in the world adopt Fairtrade labeling for their wine products including South Africa, Lebanon, Chile and Argentina.
Fairtrade labeling in Argentina has led to a floor price for grapes, which allows farmers to receive proper wages as well as improvements in farming practices, education and health care. As a result of Fairtrade labeling, workers have also been able to receive eye and dental care, help with nutrition and even community support for schools and health centers.
Additional Benefits of Fecovita
The wine industry in Argentina has grown to thrive off of the foreign market. The Federation has provided small cooperatives with a seat at the negotiating table with much larger foreign and domestic wineries. As of 2015, Mendoza, a province to the west of Buenos Aires, supplied 70 percent of the world’s Malbec, becoming a massive wine influencer. Although reliance on exporting wine creates a sensitive reaction to the global economy, cooperatives and the contratista (contractor) system have helped to shield workers from this instability.
The contratista system entitles workers to a percentage of total grape sales every year, providing a voice when the meetings occur. Viñasol, an association of small wine companies, has used the extra profits that Fairtrade obtained for computer education for the children of the contract workers and also gave some money to a worker who was constructing a home for his family.
Additionally, to ensure the production of quality products, Fecovita offers education and technical assistance. Some examples include the purchase of equipment, fertilizers and pesticides for individual members. The Federation also offers to local cooperatives for other necessary equipment, such as netting to prevent hail damage. Further, the cooperatives are able to transport the wine to the bottling facility just outside of Mendoza without cost.
All of these services come at a high cost that the cooperatives would not be able to afford without the support from key investors. Due to these investments, there are profound benefits to Fecovita.
Altogether, the benefits of Fecovita have provided smaller vineyards and wineries the leverage needed to greatly impact markets and the support required to maintain stability for the businesses and the workers.