Co-op Name: Manos Campesinas S.A.
Location: Quetzaltenango & San Marcos, Guatemala
Number of producers: 1200
Certified: Organic, Fair Trade, SPP
Varietals: Bourbon, Catimor, Catuai, Sarchimor
Altitude: 1200-1600 meters above sea level
Interesting Fact: Many members of Manos Campesinas identify as indigenous and speak multiple languages. The most widely spoken languages by farmer members include Mam, Quiché, T'zutujil, Sipakapense, and Kaqchikel in addition to Spanish.
A little bit of history: Manos Campesinas S.A. is an organization of small-scale coffee producers in the highlands of southwestern Guatemala. The organization was legally formed in 1997 at which time it was comprised of 620 farmers organized in six cooperatives. Today, it brings together 1200 members organized in eight cooperatives located in the Departments of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and Solola.
For many years prior to the creation of Manos Campesinas, the Pastoral Team of the Catholic Diocese of Quetzaltenango had been providing technical and organizational support to small-scale coffee producers in the area. The majority of these farmers each own less than 2 1/4 acres of coffee, and so despite all of the technical assistance and support in production, the farmers still lost money when it came time to sell their coffee. Isolated from the markets, and information about the market, coffee producers were forced to sell their coffee to coyotes (middlemen) at unsustainably low prices, leaving them with very little money at the end of the harvest. With this dilemma in mind, Manos Campesinas was formed to aggregate and export its members' coffee.
The primary objective of Manos Campesinas is to satisfy the needs of its members by offering better market alternatives and by giving them marketing support. In addition, they provide technical assistance in the field to increase the quantity and quality of the coffee harvest. Today, the organization also provides technical support to help the farmers diversify their product, convert to organic production, improve the administration of the cooperatives, and promote women's participation.
You can find Manos Campesina's coffee beans in: