Producer Profile: MICHIZA, Mexico

Written by Cafe Campesino on Apr 6, 2010 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |

MICHIZA (Oaxaca region of Mexico) Cooperative: Yeni Navan

(Editor’s note: You may have noticed that our Mexican coffee now carries the name Oaxaca rather than the perhaps more familiar Chiapas. In our efforts to support more coffee farmer cooperatives that share our fair trade, organic values, we now offer two regional varieties of coffee from Mexico – Chiapas for about half of the year and Oaxaca for the other half of the year.)

  • Founded in 1985
  • 1033 members, of which 321 are women (2008). This represents 1% of farmers in Oaxaca region
  • First international exports occurred in 1989
  • Present in 43 communities
  • Coffee is Organic Certified by NATURLAND, Germany
  • The English translation of Yeni Navan is “permanent sunrise”

Yeni Navan began as a small organization linking coffee producers from various ethnic groups in the regions around Oaxaca. The name MICHIZA is an abbreviation of these five indigenous groups: Mixtecos, Chinantecos, Chatinos, Cuicatecos and Zapotecos. The coop was formed in order to eliminate the local intermediaries, known as coyotes in Spanish, who are notorious for exploiting coffee farmers in the process of pricing and exporting their coffee.

MICHIZA (Oaxaca region of Mexico) Cooperative: Yeni Navan

Initially, MICHIZA’s coffee was sold only to the local market. But by 1989, the organization obtained legal status under the name Yeni Navan and gained the legal capacity to export internationally through an exporter. By 1991, they started 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. As an organization, they aim to include women’s participation in their decision-making, the impact of which is noted in the number of women who are members. In 2008, members discussed the formation of a Women’s Commitee in order to develop projects better adapted to their needs.

The cooperative holds regular meetings (every two months) at their offices in the state’s capital. A delegate from each community attends the meetings, some traveling up to 6 hours to get to the capital from their local region. Topics covered in the meetings range from administrative business to current and potential developmental projects on the go.

The main objective of Yeni Navan is to raise the living standard of its partners and family through a sustainable agriculture and the construction of a fairer and more equitable market. The members of the cooperative have a diversified production model and also produce oranges, corn, beans, and sugar cane.

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