Location – Oaxaca, Mexico
Established – 1985
Diversification – oranges, corn, beans, sugar cane
Yeni Navan, which translates as “Permanent Sunrise” began as a small organization linking coffee producers from various ethnic groups in the regions around Oaxaca. The name MICHIZA is an abreviation of these five indigenous groups: Mixtecos, Chinantecos, Chatinos, Cuicatecos and Zapotecos. The coop was formed in order to eliminate the local intermediaries, known as coyotes in Spanish, who are notorious for exploiting coffee farmers in the process of pricing and exporting their coffee.
Initially, MICHIZA’s coffee was sold only to the local market. But by 1989, the organization obtained legal status under the name Yeni Navan and gained the legal capacity to export internationally through an exporter. By 1991, they started exporting independently.
MICHIZA offers technical support to its members to improve their capacity in organic agriculture and overall coffee quality and yields. MICHIZA is also responsible for marketing and the direct export of their members’ coffee. As an organization, they aim to include women’s participation in their decision-making, the impact of which is noted in the number of women who are members. In 2008, members discussed the formation of a Women’s Commitee in order to develop projects better adapted to their needs.
The cooperative holds meetings (every two months) at their offices in the state’s capital. A delegate from each community attends the meetings, some traveling up to 6 hours to get to the capital from their local region. Topics covered in the meetings range from administrative business to current and potential developmental projects on the go. Yeni Navan strives to enhance the quality of life for all of its partners and their families through sustainable agricultural practices and the construction of a fairer and more equitable market.
An extensive study on fair trade coffee was carried out with MICHIZA in Dan Jaffee’s book Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustinability, and Survival.