Apicoop was a project initially started by the Catholic Church in Chile to help the bee keepers of Valdivia, but Apicoop have operated independently since 1997. Apicoop provide help to the cooperative producers with hive management, sales and marketing, market access and exporting. Apicoop have been a customer with Shared Interest Society Ltd since 2002, made up of 9 producer groups containing 600 individuals. They have continued to grow, counting Traidcraft and Oxfam as sustainable customers and can now claim to be the world's main supplier of Fairtrade honey.
Shared Interest were actually one of the first businesses to lend to Apicoop to upgrade facilities for honey processing. As the producers began to operate as an independent business, they began to look for help. Loans in 2007 and 2008 were provided to fund a blueberry project to allow Apicoop to diversify their products and generate additional income.
General Manager, Juan Eduardo Henriquez (Chino) said "Our business is not really about honey or blueberries. It is about people. Education is the real outcome. Our producers are now sending their children to university. Their parents never had this opportunity, but to see engineers, doctors, and trained professionals emerging from their studies as a result of the income from honey and blueberries, is really the true meaning of success.
"As customers we should be honest with investors. This journey with us will not be perfect. Never think your small contribution cannot make a difference. Every bee that enters one of our hives can only carry a very tiny amount of nectar. But when you open our hives and they are bursting with honey, you realise how each bee has played its part. It's the same with Shared Interest investors. It's when we all do our small part that we make the biggest difference."