There are plenty of obstacles to cultivating and exporting coffee from the department of Huehuetenango. The terrain is rugged, and the weather is extreme. But coffee grows well here, and more than 450 families with farms that average just a few acres in size work together through a cooperative called the Association of Special Coffee Producers of Huehuetenango (ASOPCE) to overcome the obstacles. Each family uses their own micro-mill
to process their harvest, which allows for meticulous care in cherry selection, depulping, fermenting, and drying the coffee. ASOPCE has a centralized warehouse to store dried parchment until it is time to move the coffee across the country along rough roads to Guatemala City where the coffee is prepared for export. Through ASOPCE, producers have gained access to technical assistance for managing their farms with the best agricultural practices. Using materials like coffee pulp to make organic fertilizers has helped reduce the transportation costs associated with purchasing fertilizer from afar, and at the same time, creates an abundant source of fertilizer that ensures better yields and quality. ASOPCE partners with an export company called BICAFE, which has a dry-mill facility powered by 250 solar panels.