Many thanks to all who purchased our Food 4 Farmers Benefit Coffee, CESMACH Organic El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve! We sold 663 12oz bags over the winter and have donated the net profits—$2,815—to Food 4 Farmers to help fund their work with CESMACH. We're proud to partner with this organization that's providing crucial support to coffee farmers throughout Latin America.
CESMACH (Campesinos Ecologicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas) is a cooperative of 455 coffee farmers located in the buffer zone of El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the highlands of the Sierra Madre in southern Mexico. It's one of the most diverse forest reserve areas in the world and contains Mesoamerica's largest cloud forest, as well as a protected natural environment for thousands of plant and animal species.
Food 4 Farmers began working with CESMACH in 2013, after coffee leaf rust devastated coffee farms throughout Latin America. Many farmers in Chiapas do not have adequate access to food during the rainy season (June-October). Food 4 Farmers developed a beekeeping program to diversify farmers' output, provide income after the coffee harvest is over each year, and improve nutrition by supporting the growth of coop members' home gardens. As an added bonus, beehives help their coffee plants thrive!
Beehives in the CESMACH beekeeping program.
Here's an update from Food 4 Farmers about what they've accomplished with CESMACH over the past year and their outlook for 2022:
"Thanks to a new revolving loan fund we co-financed with CESMACH, its beekeeping group, Apicultores Real del Triunfo (ART), was able to pay beekeepers in advance for the first time. They also negotiated the sale of honey through a formal contract for the first time and sold their honey for the highest price ever. In total, CESMACH beekeepers produced 39,203 pounds of honey in 2021, generating over $50,000 in additional income—more than twice what they earned in 2020.
"In 2022, PT’s support will help us introduce agroforestry—the integration of trees and shrubs into crop systems—as a food security strategy at CESMACH. We’ll be planting trees on 455 coffee farms to improve environmental health and family nutrition, provide shade for the coffee plants, and promote new sources of income through sales of surplus fruit, cacao and cinnamon. The trees will produce nectar for bees that are part of CESMACH’s beekeeping program and other pollinators.
"CESMACH will also work on securing organic certification for their honey, a process projected to take 2 years. Organic certification will give beekeepers a path to better prices for their high quality specialty honey."
CESMACH beekeeper Mario delivers his honey to the CESMACH warehouse.
We look forward to providing further updates from CESMACH and to working with Food 4 Farmers on the ground in Guatemala and Colombia where we have long-standing Direct Trade relationships. Thanks as always for your support!