Maya Vinic - Mexico
Founded on July 31, 1999
Coffee: Arabica coffees, including varieties such as Typica, Caturra, and Mundo Novo. Grown at altitudes of between 900 and 1400 meters
Characteristics: Smooth body, balanced, with pronounced sweet, fruity flavor.
500 members (60-70 women)
Annual production approx 6 containers (240,000 containers)
The Cooperative "Producers’ Union Maya Vinic" is comprised of some 500 coffee farming families located in 38 highland communities in the municipalities of Chenalhó, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán, in Chiapas, Mexico. Each member has an average of one hectare and produces an average of 400 kilos of coffee from each plot. Inspired by the traditions of their ancestors, Maya Vinic is organized and operates in keeping with a respect of local culture, language, reverence for the Mother Earth and traditional forms of self-government.
Maya Vinic was born out the wider civil society "Las Abejas”, an organized response to the prevalent injustice in their communities and in the hopes of promoting positive change and autonomous development by pacific means. The plight of their communities came to the public eye in the aftermath of the infamous Acteal Massacre, where 45 men, women and children were killed by paramilitary forces and thousands more displaced from their homes.
The organizational structure of Maya Vinic holds a General Assembly as its maximum authority. An Assembly of Community Delegates works in close conjunction with the Producers’ Board of Directors to accomplish the tasks assigned to the Education, Technical Assistance, Marketing, Administration and local Arbitration and Problem Resolution Committees.
Coffee production is nothing new to the farmers of this region. “Recruited” since the arrival of the plantations in the early 1900s as poorly paid hired hands during the harvest, they learned about production and processing, and the wealth that coffee had made for a fortunate few. Soon, seeds began trickling back to the Highland communities of Chiapas.
Farmers eventually were able to organize themselves into producer cooperatives in search of more equitable markets. In keeping with this legacy, Maya Vinic has recently been accepted to the FLO register and is in the second year of organic certification. Cooperative Coffees purchased the first Maya Vinic coffee to be exported under fair trade terms in 2001.
In order to be able to offer a consistently high-quality coffee, raised with care and dignity, the coop offers educational and capacity-building activities focused on sustainable farming techniques and the importance of a strong social economy. As a collective initiative to improve the living situations of their farmers, Maya Vinic understands that in addition to providing a greater economic benefit, the coop works for the dignity and fair treatment of its members through coffee production and marketing.
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