Asproguate is a relatively young organization, having been founded in 2014 by 100 organic coffee growers in the Acatenango, Coban, and Chimaltenango regions. The members of Asproguate set out with the express purpose of showing that growing coffee organically is not only better for the environment, but is more economically sustainable and leads to higher incomes. The majority of Asproguate’s farms are women-owned, nearly all of Asproguate’s members are of indigenous Kaqchikel and Tz’utujil ethnicity and 95% of members are organic certified producers.
In 2016, Asproguate opened a new headquarters in San Martín Jilotepeque. Acatenango’s coffee is grown in a valley located about 85 kilometers from Guatemala City, in between mountains and volcanoes. This area is known as an ecological gift, as the shade from its coffee is dense, so it creates a forest. Locals call this area an ecological gift; the dense forest creates ample shade to grow excellent coffee. The coffee grows up to 2000 meters above sea level, and the varieties grown are Caturra, Catuai and Pache. Most of the population in Acatenango are coffee growers.
Fuerza de Mujer
The women of Atitlan Fuerza de Mujer come from two villages in the municipality of San Juan la Laguna. The coffee grown is grown in high, cloudy forests in an area that is a part of the Atitlan watershed fed by the tributary of Lago de Atitlán. In addition to their work as coffee growers, these women are also textile makers, weaving fabrics and patterns traditional to the region. Sales of these fabrics help to maintain their coffee plantations and provide additional income for their families.
The women from Atitlan work closely with their peers in Acatenango and San Martín Jilotepeque who are also a part of Asproguate’s Fuerza de Mujer program. The program aims to empower women with training in leadership, finance, health, and nutrition, in addition to the organic and environmental training programs offered by Asproguate.