Mexico

Fast Facts on Coop Yeni Navan, MICHIZA

  • Founded in 1985
  • 932 members, of which 266 are women
  • Present in 43 community
  • Yeni Navan means "Permanent Sunrise" in English

 

Yeni Navan started as a small organization regrouping organic coffee producers from various ethnic groups. Their name, Michiza, is an abbreviation of these five groups:  Mixtecos, Chinantecos, Chatinos, Cuicatecos and Zapotecos. The farmers hoped that through the organization they would be able to stop the local intermediaries from manipulating the local price of coffee and exploiting them in the process.

Initially, they sold their coffee only on the local market. In 1989, the organization obtained legal status under the name Yeni Navan, and they had the authorization to export. By 1991, they were capable of exporting independently.

MICHIZA offers technical support to its members to improve their capacity in organic agriculture and overall coffee quality and yields. MICHIZA is also responsible for marketing and the direct export of their members` coffee. In addition, they are in a constant process of promoting women`s participation in their  decision-making, the impact of which is noted in the number of women who are members.

Fast Facts on Yachil Xojobal Chu’lchan

  • Founded in 2001, Organic Certified in 2005
  • Over 800 Members in 8 municipalities
  • Annual Production - approximately 6.5 containers
  • Altitude of plots between 1,000 and 1,300 ftFounded in 1984

Yachil Xojobal Chu’lchan, which means “new light in the sky” in the Tzeltal language, has members from the Tzotzil and Tzeltal Mayan indigenous groups supportive of the Zapatista autonomous movement working towards respect for Indigenous rights. In 2001, Yachil began to organize its first members with 383 producers from the municipalities of Chilon, Pantelho and San Juan Cancuc.

In 2003 Yachil sold its first container to Germany, and in 2004 they sold just over 2 containers to Germany and into the US. They currently are comprised of over 800 members in eight municipalities ( Pantelhó, San Juan Cancuc, Chenalhó, Tenejapa, Chalchihuitán, Aldama (magdalena de La Paz), Simojovel (16 de Febrero) and El Bosque (San Juan de La Libertad)).  They are currently hoping to export 6.5 containers to even different buyers.  Coop Coffees is currently the only American importer.
Members of this cooperative have formed their own local Indigenous governments, which focus on community development efforts to promote democracy, equality, and empowerment. Members do not accept government handouts. Over the last decade members of Yachil have suffered repression at the hands of government security forces and the paramilitary. Many members and their families have been forced to flee their communities as internal refugees and they continue to be victims of oppression, intimidation, and even assassination.

Fast Facts on RedCafes

  • Founded in 1984
  • Members: 351 total organic; 150 transitional (towards organic)
  • Location: Sierra de las Tuxtlas mountains near Catemaco, Veracruz
  • Elevation: 800-1000 meters above sea level
  • Agricultural diversification: peppers, avocado, citrus, guayaba, peanuts

 

Tucked away in the Tuxtlas mountains of Veracruz, Mexico lies Cerro de Cintepec Cooperative. “Cintepec Hill” is located near the Laguna de Catemaco, a beautifully picturesque lake surrounded by volcanoes and a neotropical rainforest similar to that found in the Amazon. About half of the members in Cerro de Cintepec Cooperative are native Popoluca. Trees such as avocado, hazelnut, orange, banana and many others provided not only shade, but also a diversified food supply and income for farmers organized under this cooperative. This organization is characterized by their diversified production, from cattle (for meat and milk), fruit production, black pepper, to their main focus of organic coffee production.

The cooperative was founded in 1984 when a group of producers in the community of Zapoapan de Cabañas began to organize, joining together coffee producers from twelve different communities throughout southern Veracruz. Their goal was to overcome the coyotes and the poor prices they were offering. Now 26 years later, members of Cerro de Cintepec are moving forward, thanks to their organization and access to better markets. In 2007, after several years of being unable to sell their fair trade and organic certified coffee to a secure buyer, a relationship was established with Cooperative Coffees. "It means so much to us to have you here," Don Santo told us with pride, "Mexico is a beautiful country, but the prices offered to producers are not very pretty. Your visit is a true testament of our work and organization to overcome the coyotes and find better prices, to find value in the work that we are doing, and making connections with buyers in foreign countries."

Members of Cerro de Cintepec were able to make this connection through their relationship with RedCafes (the National Network of Sustainable Coffee Producer Organizations). RedCafes is a secondary umbrella organization which operates out of Chocaman, Veracruz and serves recently established sustainable coffee ccooperatives throughout the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla, and Veracruz. Today REDCAFES has some 1680 members from 85 communities in several different coffee growing regions. They offer organic production advice as well Roasted coffee for cafeas technical assistance to better market coffee in the international export market and most recently in local, roasted markets. They have recently opened a beautiful, producer-owned coffee shop in the town of Ciudad Serdan, which serves as both an outlet for the roasted coffee and an additional source of employment.

Since the beginning, RedCafes has served as a window to development, an alternative option for all producer organizations that aspire to develop their skills, organizational growth, and increased production as well as income, but because of their low number of members, low volume, and null commercial structure have difficulty doing so alone. RedCafes was born in the middle of the coffee crisis when the coffee prices reached rock bottom. During this time, many members of Cerro de Cintepec (and other regions of Mexico) either left their lands and migrated north, or cut down their coffee farms and began planting corn. The collective of social organizations decided to strategize in order to confront the ups and downs of coffee prices, following organic and fair trade production lines. With prices on the rise again, producers today see more opportunities in growing coffee, through direct, positive relationships with buyers.

Flavour profiles

Michiza
Sweet and citrusy, with hints of caramel and black tea. Medium body and acid.

RedCafes
Strong chocolate tones with a hint of vanilla, well balanced and round bodied.

Please follow the links to puchase Mexican coffee:

Mexican - Maya Vinic

Mexican - Michiza

Mexican - RedCafes

Mexican - Yachil

* photos courtesy of Cooperative coffees - http://www.coopcoffees.com

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Coffee of the Month

Bean North's newest coffee! The coffee of the month April comes from the FAPECAFES in Ecuador. This delicious coffee from South America is grown in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe, Loja, in southern Ecuador. FAPECAFES is committed to growing high-quality coffee, while applying environmentally and socially responsible processes, with the goal to improve the quality of life of its members. A delicious sweet coffee with a mild acidity, a smooth body and flavours of sugar beet and spice. Perfect for any time of day!

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Monika Firl, Cooperative Coffees’ Producer Relations Manager, wrote an important and interesting article about her recent experiences in Honduras. The most recent annual Roaster-Producer assembly at the Café Organico Marcala headquarters, was intended to demonstrate that organic solutions, true to the economic and cultural realities of small-scale farmers, are the most viable, long-term path for their sustainable livelihood.

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