ASOBAGRI - Asociación Barillense de Agricultores
Since then, however, ASOBAGRI has grown and now counts on more than 900 members, all growing organic coffee, and over 200 more in transition organic cultivation. The cooperative is incredibly diverse representing 67 different Mayan communities. Of the 900 active members growing organic coffee, about 95 are women who produce and process their own. Cooperative members grow high-quality, shade-grown coffee using organic compost. Since Fair Trade Certification in 1999, ASOBAGRI has enjoyed significantly higher revenues. They are now certified Organic, Café Feminino and Bird Friendly.
We are very thankful to ASOBAGRI who supported the extension and revitalization of our roads at a time the community needed most. This type of work is usually done by the government, but they were not doing anything and we felt incapable of fiximg the structures on our own.
Sebastian Lucas Pascual
Fair Trade allows small farmers to have greater access to the coffee market and opportunities for growth. Participating in Fair Trade signifies a high commitment to quality, productivity and the environment, as well as support for farmers and their families.
Neri Molina, ASOBAGRI
Other effects that fair trade has had on our cooperative and our communities have been the positive social benefits from the premiums received. Since there is a minimum price for the purchase of our fair trade coffee, we have been able to use these premium funds to create various social programs that not only improve our cooperative's operating abilities, but they have been used as tools for the positive development of our members' communities. ”
Baltazar Francisco Miguel
Adequate health care is often a challenge for small producers as they usually do not have enough for emergencies. ASOBAGRI provides support to its members by paying for transportation to medical facilities. This is an invaluable service especially to those living in remote areas, without easy or inexpensive access to public transportation. ASOBAGRI also extends short term healthcare loans without interest to families when a medical emergency occurs. Alternatively, cooperative members must resort to money lenders or intermediaries for loans who often request a future guarantee of the family’s coffee harvest in exchange for the loan, or charge greater interest.
Member Emergency Fund
Low-interest loans are provided to members if there has been an emergency or if they have fallen ill. The support ASOBAGRI provides from this fund prevents members from selling-off their crops to middlemen for lower prices than the fair trade standards. This fund also helps provide for a small sense of security while the member's health or emergency-related situation gets better.
Emergency Care and Financial Support
ASOBAGRI provides financial support in cases of unexpected deaths in the family. They also support families effected by natural disasters. Whether a disaster damages their coffee crop or house, ASOBAGRI offers families financial support to help them recover.