"THE ENTERPRISING WOMEN FARMERS OF CAFE DE MUJERES DE SANTO DOMINGO PRODUCE HIGH-QUALITY COFFEE IN THE COMMUNITY OF LA LIBERTAD, HUEHUETENANGO, MAKING THEIR OWN FERTILIZERS AND DIVERSIFYING THEIR INCOME THROUGH A LOCAL BAKERY.
The movement to create the Santo Domingo cooperative began under the leadership of Orfa Constanza, who together with local women saw an opportunity to improve their lives and socioeconomic status through organic coffee production. Forming the cooperative wasn’t easy— the idea was off-putting to their husbands at first, who were accustomed to a culture of patriarchy in rural Guatemala. Over time, however, the women each gained title to their own parcels of land, either through their husbands or through inheritance.
The journey to achieve specialty coffee production was challenging for the small community of La Libertad, but they have proven themselves to be profoundly ambitious and determined, and now produce exceptional lots for the International market.
Through training from their umbrella cooperative, FECCEG (Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala), Santo Domingo manages their own biofabricas (organic fertilizer and fungicide plants) that are essential to improving soil and plant health andcombattingdiseases such as Roya. The biofabricas have been so successful that they have actually provided an additional revenue stream for the community, as their fertilizer is far more cost- effective than commercial alternatives.
Selling fertilizer has not been the only income diversification initiative the women have developed. The group was the beneficiary of a project by USAID, and several years ago received commercial baking equipment to run a small bakery out of one of the member’s houses. This has been another key source of income for the farmers."