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Producer Profiles

ASOBAGRI - Asociación Barillense de Agricultores

Located in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, 200 miles north of the capital city, ASOBAGRI was founded in 1989 by 20 K’Anjob’Al Mayan coffee and cardamom farmers, with the intention of improving the social and economic conditions of all farmers. A period of political violence and financial destitution followed, during which many small farmers abandoned their land.

Since then, however, ASOBAGRI has grown and now counts on more than 1107 members, all growing organic coffee, and over 200 more in transition to organic cultivation. The cooperative is incredibly diverse representing 67 different Mayan communities. Of the 1107 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.
 

Quotable

“ A tree fell over my house and destroyed it completely. ASOBAGRI supported me with funds and I was able to reconstruct my house. This type of support encourages us to work in coffee and with ASOBAGRI.  

Tomas Mateo, ASOBAGRI member

Since 2010, I have received economic support for my daughter’s education. The Fair Trade Premium allowed me to pay for her education. She is currently getting her degree in Nursing.  

Juan Mateo Diego, ASOBAGRI member

Programs

Environmental Quality and Productivity

ASOBAGRI invested $14,779 of the premium towards internal and external inspections, as well as audits from the various certifications. The premium also went toward the purchase of supplies to determine soil pH and to reduce laboratory costs; motorcycle equipment; pruning equipment; polyethylene bags for seedlings, and more. ASOBAGRI also works to mitigate the effects of coffee rust.

Democratic Partecipation

ASOBAGRI conducts 2 ordinary general assemblies, in which 266 men and 248 women participate. In these ordinary meetings, members are informed on activities that were conducted in the previous 12 months, while new work plans are presented. Members are also encouraged to vocalize their concerns and needs, and to agree on and approve projects. ASOBAGRI used $22,250 of the premium toward the organization of assemblies. During these meetings 50% of board members are elected through a democratic and transparent process. Additionally, in the extraordinary assembly meetings, the progress of the activities is presented so that decisions can be made such as the final price of coffee.

Education and Development

ASOBAGRI’s members decided to invest social premium in scholarships for their children. In 2013, a total of 82 women and 175 men were able to get these grants.