PRODUCER PROFILE: APECAFORM

Written by Cafe Campesino on May 1, 2010 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |
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Founded: 1992, legalized under Guatemalan law in 1998.
Membership: 350 farmers in 17 communities.
Region: Southwestern Highlands of San Marcos, Guatemala on the slopes of volcano Tajumulco (the highest volcano in Central America)
Coffee: Arabica, Certified Organic by Mayacert-Oko Garantie.

APECAFORM (Asociación de Pequeños Caficultores Orgánicos Maya-Mames) is comprised of 350 members living in 17 communities. The General Assembly is the highest decision-making authority and is responsible for electing the Boards of Directors. The central one guides and executes the main activities of APECAFORM and coordinates tasks with five Local Boards of Directors, based in community centers. In addition, 21 local promoters coordinate and conduct technical trainings to improve organic agricultural practices, and to facilitate commercialization and a variety of social projects.

The coordinating community center was established in Pueblo Nuevo, because of its central location; it is only a two-hour drive to the city of San Marcos and on average a two and a half-hour walk from the remaining 17 APECAFORM communities!

APECAFORM is in its fifth harvest of organic certified production. Now, between 80% and 85% of their production is organic and the rest is in transition. There are now 266 members under certification and 80 percent of their total production goes to the cooperative for sale to the Fair Trade market. Exporting through Manos Campesinas to Fair Trade markets has meant the difference between selling coffee at Q.250.00 (US$32.50) per QQ parchment to coyotes and Q.714.05 (US$92.75) per QQ now as APECAFORM members. Cooperative Coffees has purchased coffee from APECAFORM through its umbrella marketing organization, Manos Campesinas, since our first year of operations. Through a strategic credit partnership between EcoLogic – APECAFORM – Cooperative Coffees, producers have been able to increase direct Fair Trade sales by 50% annually for the last 3 years. Their actual average yield of organic coffee is 22 quintal per hectare (approximately 900lbs. per acre).

Their board of directors is made up of the president, Arnulfo Ramos, the secretary Eusebio Chavez Penez, and the treasurer Paulino Ascalaute.

Achievements from the fair trade premiums include:
• Purchasing land and constructing a warehouse in Malacatan
• Creating a community fund to support their network of organic promoters and coordinators.
Goals for the future:
• To construct a wet processing plant in each of the five community centers;
• To administer a timely credit fund capable of offering producers adequate pre-financing.
• To increase their membership

Purchase some fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee from the APECAFORM cooperative, available at 10% off until April 25th when you use coupon code guat10 at checkout.

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