LEARN MORE ABOUT: CAMPESINOS ECOLÓGICOS DE LA SIERRA MADRE DE CHIAPAS S.C. (CESMACH)

This organization was founded in 1994 in order to confront a critical situation characterized primarily by commercial “intermediarism,” lack of financing and technical assistance, and a strong presence of “loan sharks” who loaned money at high interest rates. As a result, year after year farmers turned over any potential profit to the coffee profiteers. When CESMACH was created, it put an end to this dynamic, and began to receive financing from international entities, managing to lay the foundations for ecological production and social community work.

Problems associated with climate change became increasingly visible in production areas: shrinking coffee-growing areas, less rainfall, increasing temperatures, diseases in the fields, etc.

The proposals made by small producers in CESMACH ranged from converting production to organic agriculture, to productive diversification, market development and the creation of added value, as well as specific projects related to producing food for the families of small producers, such as family gardens and a rural store.

Organic agriculture has shown itself to be a production system that reduces the negative effects of climate change. While the conventional production system generates 0.33 kg of CO₂ₑ per kg of coffee, this figure is reduced by a third (0.11) in organic production.

The Organic Gardens and Family Farms Project (Proyecto de Hortalizas Orgánicas y Granjas Familiares) is aimed at improving the diet and health of small producers’ families, plus improving families’ income through the sale of their surplus production. The Rural Store (La Tienda Campesina) is a community project that seeks to place basic products at competitive prices within the reach of small producers.

And the Palma Camedor Project is focused on preserving the Chamaedora quetzalteca species through seed collection, seedling production, and establishing organic coffee fields. As soon as coffee fields with this species are established, they will be organic-certified so that families’ incomes can improve from sales in the medium term.

CESMACH’s accomplishments include an ongoing increase in the number of committed producers, improved technical and operational capacities, development of ecological responsibility, recognition for the quality of origin of their products, productive diversification and collective work in an integral development strategy.

CESMACH’s future looks promising, but the organization needs assistance not only from buyers, but also through increased sources of financing to enable it to expand its current projects to all the areas in which the organization is working, and to improve the quality of life for its small producers. Without a doubt, its example and experience can be replicated in other organizations currently confronting the negative effects of climate change.

If you would like to learn more about CESMACH and support its projects, visit its website: http://www.cesmach.com.mx/

CESMACH is participating in our campaigns: “Stop Climate Change, Together with Small Producers (Alto al Cambio Climático, Juntos con Pequeños Productores)” and “Women Small Producers in Action (Mujeres Pequeñas Productoras en Acción)”.

Fact sheet:

Work area: 4 municipalities

Communities: 35

Producers (men): 434

Producers (women): 146

Qq (quintales): 27,760

Hectares: 2,640

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