The organization Café Orgánico Marcala S.A. (COMSA) was established on December 13, 2001 as an association of small farmers. They currently have 614 members, 164 women and 450 men. The majority of members are Lenca (an indigenous people). COMSA is not a cooperative in the proper sense, but a democratic stock company. All members must satisfy the criteria for fair trade and organic certification and have at least one COMSA stock, which costs 100 Honduran lempiras – approx. 4 euros. Every member has one vote, regardless of how many stocks they possess. Thus, COMSA is de facto a cooperative.
At the moment, COMSA sells 2,700 tons of green coffee, which exhibits the following characteristics in the cup: citrus-floral acidity and aroma, peach and wild blackberry flavor. COMSA has its own facilities to wet process and dry coffee in order to handle this large volume of coffee. The coffee is certified organic in Europe and Honduras and cultivated accordingly.
Altitude: 1,300 – 1,700 meters
Region: Marcala, La Paz
Processing: Arabica, natural, sun dried, manual harvesting and sorting
After the end of the 30-year-long civil war in Guatemala, a group of ex-guerrillas from Santiago Atitlán decided on a fresh start with a cooperative. The ideals for which they fought were meant to be transferred to civilian life in this way. The organization that they established was given the name AMNSI – Asociación Maya Nuevo Sembrador Integral, which can be translated as the “Association of New Organic Mayan Farmers”. After intense discussions, the cooperative decided to concentrate on growing coffee because Lake Atitlán is one of the best coffee growing regions in Central America.
When the cooperative was officially established in 1999, not only did 60 member families find a new livelihood but a step was also taken to support the entire community. Diego Tacaxoy, the current representative of AMNSI, says: “With the idea of forming a coffee cooperative, we aim to achieve fair prices for all coffee farmers in the region.”
Altitude: 1,600m – 1,800 meters
Region: Lake Atitlán
Processing: Arabica, washed, manual harvesting and sorting
Rukullakta – old people – is located in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin close to Tena. The organization of the “Pueblo Kichwa de Rukullakta” (Kichwa peoples of Rukullakta) consists of 17 indigenous communities and was established in 2006. They sell their products directly as a cooperative. Together they support the cultivation and production of high-quality washed coffee beans. They observe ecological criteria and work their fields in harmony with nature according to the Chakra principle.
Altitude: 500 meters
Region: Napo region, Amazonas
Processing: Robusta, washed, manual harvesting and sorting