Federación Regional de Asociaciones de Pequeños Cafetaleros Ecológicos del Sur (FAPECAFES) through Madison-based Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN) in 2012. In January 2014 we bought our first coffee from FAPECAFES working with primary level cooperatives APECAP and ACRIM.
FAPECAFES is an umbrella organization of seven primary producer groups: APECAM, PROCAP, PROCAFEQ, APEOSAE, APECAEL, APECAP, and ACRIM. The co-op represents over 1650 families in the highlands. The co-op formed in 2002 after years of informal cooperation between farmers in the region. In 2011 95% of the growers were farming 1 1⁄2 hectares of land or less with an average yield of six quintales (600 pounds) per hectare due to an extremely mature stock of coffee plants including Borbon, Caturra, Pacas and other heirloom varietals. Coffee is grown in a wide variety of microclimates with altitudes spanning between 800 and 2000 meters.
In 2011 83% of the farms are certified organic through BCS, USDA and JAS. Each of the seven primary associations has a cupper on staff who is responsible for coffee quality and integrity. FAPECAFES has two cuppers on staff that sample and confirm the results of the coffee they receive from the primary co-ops.
FAPECAFES farmers invest in planting fruit trees to provide shade for coffee plants These include banana, orange, lime, papaya, yucca and others. This not only allows them to grow food for consumption or market, but also provides a habitat for birds and other animals. FAPECAFES is purchasing wet mills and building greenhouse-type coffee drying facilities in the communities where the famers live to improve quality and to maximize possible output through organic production.
In addition to coffee, FEPECAFES farmers produce organic products such as honey and other bee products, chile, and bananas. They work toward phytosanitary conditions on farms, on crop diversification projects, and prohibit the use agrochemicals.