After experiencing several unsuccessful government and development-agency projects aimed at assisting coffee producers in the region, a group of small-scale farmers from Huatusco, Mexico decided to take matters into their own hands to lift themselves out of poverty. The group of farmers was led by Mr. Manuel Sedas Rincón, a local teacher who believed their culture and economic and financial gains should not end up in the hands of multinationals or other large organizations, but rather in the hands of the farmers. Under his leadership in 1980, the farmers organized themselves into a group to sell their coffee. The formally became the Unión Regional de Pequeños Productores de Café Huatusco (HUATUSCO) in 1992 and acheived Fair Trade certification in 1995. Today, HUATUSCO has an estimated 2,385 members and provides an additional 3,500 small producers with commercialization and marketing services. As a community organization, they claim to have helped over 25,000 people in the state of Veracruz where they are located. Collectively, the organization finds new and more efficient ways to cultivate and market their high quality Arabica coffee. Direct connections with specialty markets in the United States and Europe have enhanced their production and sales. Women make up a large number of their workforce. Together, they work to overcome current challenges such as globalization and market inconsistencies, and to maintain a value product in the best interest of the community. The organization exports to markets in the United States, Belgium, Denmark, Holland and other European nations. In 2012, Huatusco because the first Fair Trade partner with Kiva Microfunds and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to pilot a Fair Trade microfinance program. The organization hopes to be able to provide microloans to its members to convert production to organic and to refurbish old farms.
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