APECAFORM was founded in 1992 and became a legal entity in 1998. Currently there are 366 members spread over 19 communities throughout the county of Tajumulco, San Marcos in the Southwestern highlands of Guatemala. With the assistance of the local priest, Candido Lopez Ramirez, and aid from Programa de Capacitacion Campesina of the San Morcos Diocese, the group came together to combat issues of security, low coffee prices, high interest rates and dishonesty from local “coyotes”. This also meant that many members did migrant work in order to support their families.
The organizations office is located in Pueblo Nuevo, the most central of the communities. The average distance travelled by members to the office is 2.5 hours walk, with the farthest community being a good 6 hour hike away. Five centres have been established throughout the communities. Here coffee is gathered for transport, courses are given and meetings held. There are three “promoters” who work with the members on agricultural, commercialization and social aspects of their coffee and communities. In 1996, a secondary level organization “Manos Campesina” was formed and in 1997 gained entry onto the International Fairtrade Organization.
Apecaform was the first organization to export fairtrade organic coffee under “Manos Campesina”. At present, the members of Apecaform produce between 4 and 5 containers of SHB coffee, certified organic through Mayacert with a co-certification of BCS Oko Garantie of Germany. Like many other organic farmers, the members of APECAFORM depend on their compost and are proud of their efforts. Members also produce corn, beans, bananas, and oranges for the local market. Some of the women meet monthly and roast coffee over a fire to sell in the local market. They would like to expand their market and are currently looking for funding to provide them with technical assistance.
The community has built a storage facility for the coffee. Their next project is the construction of a wet mill - all in the name of having more control over their coffee and ensuring its high quality. We first met the farmers and their families in 2001. I truly believe that each bean reflects the passion and dignity evident in the faces, words and work of the people who nurture this bean into the brilliant beverage I love to drink! Singularly beautiful wheather roasted to full-city perfection or a deeply delicious dark, you'll also find it tucked into some of your favourite signature blends including Organic Thunder and Wild Child.