- Altitude: 1000 - 1750 meters
- Varieties: Primarily Caturra, Catuai and Lempira. Some Villazarchi, Ihcafe90 and Bourbon
- Established in 1997
- Membership: 135 - 39 women
- Region: Located in Subirana, in Honduras' Yoro region
The seeds of COMISUYL’s formation were sown in 1990 when a tax was going to be levied against small farmers. In protest small farmers began to organize. In 1991 an informal group was created which would result in COMISUYL being officially formed in 1997 with 35 initial members. By 2004 they were carrying massive debt and put forth a plan to refocus and better utilize their relationship with FLO. They have been exporting under FLO since 2005 with as many as 10 containers in one year. Their full membership has the capacity to produce 12 containers in one year. So far they have be using their fair trade premium for transport expenses, and creating and expanding their offices. They are currently using the premium to invest in better organic composting and fertilizer facilities as well as exploring the production of bokashi.
The organization counts with: administrative offices, three warehouses, a galley for manufacturing fertilizer, a wet processing plant, drying patios, two cars, one truck and a mini-lab. The cooperative also counts with a organic fertilizer store with capacity to sell approximately 1000 quintales of organic and conventional fertilizer to both cooperative affiliates and non-members. The cooperative also has roasted coffee operation which is administrated by a group of women affiliated to the cooperative.
The cooperative operates under strict governance and planning, with strategic and commercial plans and regulations. Its organized and functional structure possesses a capable human resource team with expertise in quality control, IT assistance, coffee processing machinery and gender equity. The cooperative also counts with a full-time administrative team.
Fast Facts on Café Orgánico Marcala (COMSA)
- Altitude: 1000 - 1750 meters
Members of COMSA grow high quality certified organic coffee on small farms averaging 3.8 hectares. Many also grow fruit and vegetables, raise cattle, pigs and poultry and keep fish in ponds. Their coffee crop is purchased by COMSA who carry out primary processing then buy in milling, packing and export services. COMSA also purchases coffee from non-member farmers.
COMSA was founded as a co-operative in 2000 by 45 community-minded farmers who were members of a community bank scheme that provided loans to local people. This was the time of the global coffee crisis when world prices hit rock bottom making it unprofitable for farmers to harvest their coffee. Most farmers in the area were forced to abandon their farms and many migrated to the cities or to the US in search of work. COMSA farmers realised they had to find a different way of trading coffee and took the decision to join together to access the organic market for its higher prices.
With support from a rural business development organisation, COMSA was formally registered as a limited company in 2001 with a membership of 65 farmers. This was the beginning of a journey in which they learned that organic culture wasn’t just organic fertiliser, it was about incorporating principles and values into farming practices and balancing the needs of business, society and the environment. Membership has since grown to 800 farmers, a quarter of them women.
COMSA’s organic production policy aims to improve coffee quality by reviving depleted soil fertility and ending use of the harmful chemicals that caused it. This also has health benefits for farmers, makes fields safe to grow food crops and ends contamination of water sources. Coffee waste is recycled to make organic fertiliser which is distributed free to farmers, helping reduce fertiliser costs by a factor of 50 compared to chemicals. Productivity is higher than for conventional production, costs are reduced and the need for more labour generates employment and reduces migration and consequent family breakdown.
Please follow the links to purchase Honduran coffee:
A clean coffee with hints of vanilla and bittersweet chocolate. Earthy tones and some sweetness.
COMSA Honey Processed
This special organic Fair Trade coffee is very sweet, clean, has flavours of honey and tropical fruit, with a creamy body.
Decaf Honduran Las Capucas - Mountain Water - Sorry, this coffee is currently unavailable
A rich decaffeinated coffee that is full bodied. Experience undertones of fruit and a sweet finish.
Caproceal - Sorry, this coffee is currently unavailable
Very sweet and tart with vibrant vanilla and berry notes. It is very plump on the tongue while staying bright and clean
* photos courtesy of Cooperative coffees - http://www.coopcoffees.com