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.
Fair trade has helped our cooperative obtain additional financing that is very important to our development as a service provider to small farmers. Before, it was very difficult to get national financing since too much collateral and too many assets are required for this. Now, our fair trade partners and clients support us by either directly providing financing or providing the necessary networking for us to get financed with some other organization outside of Guatemala. ”
Baltazar Francisco Miguel
Fair trade has to do with the increased opportunities that small farmers now have. Farmers that are members of our cooperative have access to markets in the USA and other parts of the world where they had never dreamed of having clients. Those farmers that are members and that sell their coffee as "fair trade" have more opportunities than non-member farmers who do not have access to the worldwide marketplace. This broadening of markets has brought a dramatic increase in the benefits that each member farmer receives from the sale of their fair trade coffee, which include educational and healthcare benefits among others. ”
Baltazar Francisco Miguel
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
Natural Disaster Fund
ASOBAGRI has reserved part of their premiums received for this fund that supports members if there has been a natural disaster. If a member's house, harvest or land has been affected by a natural disaster, then this fund provides the resources to help rebuild or fix the affected areas to help the member continue to produce quality coffee. The funds released to members from this program do not have to be repaid.
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.
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.