New Guatemalan Cooperative

July 31, 2008 by Robert Rice


Santa Avelina waterfall.
burro carrying coffee bag
Delivering coffee for processing.
two men checking coffee plant
Checking coffee in the field.

This year a group of small coffee growers called Maya Ixil joined the SMBC’s Bird Friendly® coffee program. The group, from El Quiche, Guatemala, has offices in the remote "aldea" or village of Santa Avelina, and farms at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 meters above sea level (3,900 to 5,200 feet). When the group formed in 1998, it had 28 members. Today, 150 families belong to the cooperative, with men and women alike farming coffee.

The group's goal is:

“The developments of coffee producers dedicated to quality and the stewardship of the environment.”

Maya Ixil's farms extend throughout the region called Ixil Triangle, marked geographically by the communities of San Juan Cotzál, Santa Maria Nebáj, and San Gaspar Chajúl. The violence of the 1980's hit this area heavily and these farmers' success in forming a working association to produce quality coffee is testament to their pluck and perseverance.

In addition to coffee, Maya Ixil also produces organic honey. Both these products are also fair trade certified.

We are very proud to have the members of Maya Ixil associated with the Bird Friendly® coffee program. We send them our very best wishes in linking their dedication to conscientious land stewardship to the market place.