Flamenco Organic’s visit to Cesmach Cooperative
On a recent origin trip to Mexico, David and Patrick visited the cooperative responsible for Flamenco’s Mexican El Truinfo Biosphere Reserve crop. The Cesmach Cooperative is one of three groups to be apart of the Union El Truinfo. Nestled in the modest city of Jaltenango, it lies north of the biosphere reserve along two hours of rocky trail.
Beginning in 1994, Cesmach strives to help local coffee producers switch from conventional to organic coffee production. Currently, Cesmach is responsible for 478 families in 31 different communities and brings about 2 million lbs of green coffee. Along with the other two groups apart of Union El Truinfo (Truinfo Verde and Comon Yaj Noptic), they offer producers a foundation to change over (financing, organic fertilizer, ect). From 2008 to 2013, they grew by 46% in production and of their total intake only 14% is transitional (in other words, non-organic, but taking the necessary steps towards organic certification).
On average, the USA gets 78% of the coop’s coffee crops annually – all of which is organic. In order to receive organic certification, producers have to practice organic farming for three years.This allows for the soil to be cleansed of conventional chemicals and treatments. During this time, Cesmach will still take in and sell transitional coffee, however only within Chiapas and Mexico, roasted and ground in their facility.
Transparency and Changing of the Guards
The financial transparency of Cesmach (along with their partners in Union El Truinfo and other farms we visited) was very much a sigh of relief. Flamenco Organic Coffee Co. prioritizes fair trade organic coffee, and in a presentation by Cesmach, they pinpointed to the cent where their profits spread out to. On the average bag of coffee taken in by Cesmach and resold, producers directly received 21% of the sales price and have the option to save. Before that number, Cesmach pays off any credit and basic costs.
Those in charge of Cesmach do not get paid, but rather are members of the coop and producers themselves. Every three years, an election takes place to name influential and avid members to positions within Cesmach, ranging from vigilance counselors, regional directors, and smaller committees to handle individual production, certification, community development, commerical relations, and administration. It is possible to be placed in an elected position consecutively, not never the same.