Unless you are going to parachute into Santa Cruz Barillas, you should plan for one of the longest coffee treks of your life. While many are familiar with Huehuetenango and the reputation of the coffee region, few have ventured to this isolated corner of Guatemala. Royal has gone many times over the years, and we are proud to have been the first to import Fair Trade certified coffee from Asociación Barillense de Agricultores (ASOBAGRI). The spectacularly rugged terrain has served to preserve the indigenous heritage, distinct
clothing, and dialects that can vary from one mountain ridge to the next. In this cultural oasis, ASOBAGRI has become an important bridge to the international coffee community. This cooperative is simply one of the most sophisticated and well organized in the world with more than 1,400 members, spread across 80 communities, who cultivate and harvest their own coffee on small farms with their own micro-mills. Promoting gender equality throughout the organization has been a shining success at ASOBAGRI. This
particular lot called Las Dueñas Cafe is the culmination of an integrated program for 182 female members of ASOBAGRI. The program includes 5 women technicians providing training and technical support that is appropriately tailored to the needs of the members.
Strategies like using coffee pulp to make organic fertilizers reduces the transportation costs associated with purchasing fertilizer from afar, and at the same time, creates an abundant source of plant nutrition that ensures better yields and quality. Income diversification investments in chicken farms, avocado trees and local cafeteria have also strengthened the options for women members.