Guatemala 2016 - Cooperative to Cooperative Trade

Posted by Thaleon Tremain on

In November of 2016, I had the honor of traveling to Guatemala with a group of U.S. cooperative leaders led by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA). Our goal was to help facilitate and encourage cooperative-to-cooperative trade between Guatemala and the United States.


Dan Arnett (SNF) and Erbin Crowell (NFCA) with farmer-owners of Manos Campesinas



A Cooperative Supply Chain We enjoyed a productive week meeting with people and organizations throughout the coffee supply chain. At Manos Campesinas, we were warmly greeted by the board of directors. We learned about their role as exporters and members of Pachamama. We then cupped the best of coffee harvest and discussed the challenges of sustainably producing high quality coffee. You can read the trip report from NCBA CLUSA here: Co-op to co-op trade trip brings coffee buyers to Guatemala.

“In Guatemala, it was important for the participants from U.S. Grocery Co-ops and coffee roasters to meet with Pachamama’s members as well as other producers of specialty coffees to learn about the challenges the Guatemalan coffee industry is facing and how the U.S. market can directly support smallholder coffee farmers with fair prices and diversified markets to ensure sustainability of the coffee industry.” – Marcus Laws of NCBA CLUSA
“Every time we visit with our members at origin, we strengthen those relationships and build closer ties. These cooperative connections will benefit both farmers and consumers for many years to come. It’s a great investment.” – Thaleon Tremain, Pachamama
“We may visit organizations that we did not know and after having an introduction, and learning about them during a visit is always a plus.” – Erika Tran-Hernández, InterAmerican Coffee
“These exchanges promote transparency, and the flow of information about the farmers, and the production conditions and origin of the products we buy” – Marialy Justiniano, Cervantes Coffee Roasters

“For Kishé it is more important to connect with American buyers because the brand is available in the United States and it has been difficult to access the market without a big budget for publicity. To have the chance to present the product in person to several buyers is an important opportunity for us.” – Nidia Gómez, FECCEG





MANOS CAMPESINAS, Asociación Civil de Pequeños Productores de Café, a producer organization owned by 1,100 families in the southwestern departments of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and Solola. In addition to marketing and exporting its farmers’ organic coffee, Manos Campesinas supports gender equity by facilitating training programs which work with the women to build leadership skills. FECCEG, La Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala, is a second level association representing 12 producer groups in Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Sololá, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango. ASUVIM, Asociación Integral Unidos para Vivir Mejor, a farmers’ association in Santa Clara La Laguna, Guatemala, and a member of Manos Campesinas.  Sitting high above Lake Atitlán, ASUVIM has 130 member families, which represent ethnic communities K’iches and Tz’utuil. FEDECOCAGUA, Federación de Cooperativas Agrícolas Guatemala, a second-level co-operative founded in 1969 to improve the position of small-scale coffee growers. It is the umbrella organization for 20,000 coffee farmers belonging to 52 affiliated farmers’ organizations.



Participants included Dan Arnett and Gina Disney of the Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative, a full service grocery store owned by thousands of consumers in Sacramento, California. The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op purchases roasted coffee directly from ASUVIM and Manos Campesinas, via Pachamama Coffee. Erbin Crowell of the Neighboring Food Cooperative (NFCA), a cooperative federation uniting more then 35 food co-ops and start-up initiatives in the Northeast. These are food co-ops are working together toward a shared vision of a thriving co-operative economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable regional food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. Marcus Laws of NCBA CLUSA, the oldest not-for-profit cooperative development and trade association in the United States, fostering cooperative and international economic and social development in the United States and abroad. Erika Tran of InterAmerican Coffee Imports, a specialty green coffee importer and part of the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG). Marialy Justiniano, owner of Cervantes Coffee, based in Northern Virginia, is a roaster specializing in single origin coffees from Central and South America. Thaleon Tremain, co-founder and CEO of Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, a federated co-op owned and governed by coffee farmers in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Ethiopia. Special thank you to the USAID’s Co-op to Co-op Trade Program and to all the great folks that hosted us in Guatemala!

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment




A Story of Empowered Women in Coffee Farming: Alexa's Leadership at Prodecoop

In the highlands of Northern Nicaragua, Alexa Marin's farm embodies women's empowerment and exceptional coffee cultivation. Generations of women have shaped life on this land,...

Read more

The Heartbeat of Alexa's Farm: A Tale of Women, Resilience, and Exceptional Coffee

In the highlands of Northern Nicaragua, nestled near the border to Honduras, lies a smallholder farm that embodies the essence of women empowerment, resilience, and...

Read more