Café Colis Resistencia in Guatemala
Within Mataquescuintla and its surrounding area, nearly 90% of the population identifies as a coffee producer and yet, almost none of these producers have access to an international market.
Café Colis Resistencia fights to change that.
Photo: Louis Bockner
This small group of Indigenous Xinka farmers are not only fierce land defenders, protecting their traditional territories from the incursion of illegal mining, but they are also multi-generational coffee producers who had spent too many years selling their coffee for nothing.
Passage of miners not permitted. Yes to life, no to mining.
From left to right: Miguel Rodriguez, Irineo Ramírez, Gregorio Muñoz, and Alex Reynoso (Photo: Louis Bockner)
Guatemala’s history of coffee production has always erred to the support of major landowners of European or Mestizo descent, and relied upon the forced labour of Indigenous people to claim its place as one of Central America’s largest coffee producers. This violent and painful system leaves its vestigial remains in the monopoly that exists today — in short, a system of production and export in which the government supports major landholders while holding back resources and access to small producers such as those in Mataquescuintla.
Photo: Louis Bockner
This monopoly not only keeps producers away from the market access they need for truly sustainable prices, but it also keeps them away from technical assistance and education that could propel them forward. As such, these producers are left to fend for themselves in this incredible challenging transition from a lifetime of selling in cherry to processing and drying their own coffee for sale as micro-lots.
In essence, Café Colis Resistencia has little but themselves to rely upon. Despite incredible adversity, the steps this group has taken are revolutionary.
Multiple of these growers now have loyal clients and are finally gaining access to the knowledge, support, and capital they need to actuate their desires, but there is still a long way to go. In collaboration with Semilla, we are proud to stand beside this group as they wage their struggle, and we seek to do them justice in the ways they've asked -- to tell their story, and to share their coffee.