The Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala (FECCEG) is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 to provide support for small coffee producers struggling to overcome market challenges, including access and price risk.
Currently, FECCEG has 1,500 members (1,150 men and 350 women) from 15 producer organizations, associations, and cooperatives. All of them are smallholder farmers dedicated to the organic production of specialty coffees, honey, panela, and cocoa.
FECCEG’s members are located in the departments of Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Sololá, San Marcos, and Quetzaltenango. These mountainous, volcanic areas are renowned for the diversity of microclimates that contribute to the development of unique flavor profiles that make their high-quality coffees so special.
The movement to establish the Santo Domingo cooperative began under the leadership of Orfa Constanza, who, together with local women, saw an opportunity to improve farmer livelihood through organic coffee production. Forming the cooperative wasn’t easy— the idea of women running their farms and cooperatives was new and challenged many social and cultural norms. Over time, however, the women could attain legal ownership over their own sections of land. The journey to achieving specialty coffee production was challenging for the small community of La Libertad. Still, through unwavering determination and dedication, they are now producing exceptional lots for the international market.
With help from FECCEG, Santo Domingo manages their own “biofabricas” (organic fertilizer and fungicide plants), which are essential to improving soil and plant health and combatting diseases such as Roya. The biofabricas have been so successful that they have actually provided an additional revenue stream for the community through sales of their excellent fertilizer. Selling fertilizer has not been the only income diversification initiative the women have developed. The group was the beneficiary of a project by USAID, and several years ago, it received commercial baking equipment to run a small bakery, which has been another key source of income for the farmers.