Maya Ixil People

The Maya Ixil community exists in Guatemala’s remote volcanic highlands – deep within the Rainforest. Their remote location has kept these Mayan descendants amongst the world’s most impoverished, neglected and uneducated.

During the 36 year long Guatemalan internal war, the indigenous peoples who lived here in the Ixil Triangle suffered horrendous atrocities—that few heard of and even less cared about. However, their extreme suffering served only to unite them and foster their tribal commitment to survival of their people and their culture.

La Cooperativa Maya Ixil was legally organized in 1998. The cooperativa started with an association of 28 small producers. Today their members come from the communities of San Juan Cotzal, Santa Maria Nebaj and San Gaspar Chajul. These villages are located in the Department of Quiche, Guatemala. Currently, membership consists of 184 associate families.

The mission of Maya Ixil Cooperativa is to improve the quality of life for their members-- the small farmers and their families--by increasing the price received for their harvest--by selling a very high-quality product in niche, specialty coffee markets.

The cooperativa achieved these goals by executing focused projects in certified organic and fair trade coffee and honey. The cooperativa directs its profits toward improving the education of its members’ children, increasing their access to medical care, training farmers in more productive agricultural techniques, and integrating responsible stewardship of the Rainforest, which is home to all the farms and families.

At this point, the Maya Ixil receive a significant premium price above Fair Trade, for their raw coffee—a raw commodity. Earth Friendly Coffee itself pays far more than the Fair Trade price—in order to secure the farmers’ best beans. And yet, they still live in abject poverty.

Over two years ago, Rotary International approved a roasting facility grant for the Maya Ixil community. That facility was installed and the Maya Ixil received expert training.

Today, they know how to roast and package their own superb beans into a superb value-added, finished, roasted coffee. Now that they have the ability to offer the world a very high quality single origin, organic, rainforest, fair trade finished product—they still face just one more challenge. They need to get their story out to their potential customers across the U.S. Will you help us get the word out?

We estimate that when the above occurs--the Maya Ixil community will be able to earn from 25-50% more than they currently earn—because they will be offering the world a finished value-added roasted coffee.

In addition to the above, having the ability to take their crop from seed to cup will enable the Maya Ixil farmers to remain on their farms, with their families, within their tribal culture, stewarding the Rainforest—to the ecological benefit of all mankind.

Thank you for your interest in the Maya Ixil coffee farmers.

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