Comon Yaj Noptic, Mexico

The cooperative Comon Yaj Noptic was founded in May 1995 by a group of coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico. Today the co-operative has 142 members, 93 percent of whom are certified organic coffee farmers. The remaining co-op members are in the process of gaining their organic certification. All together, the small-scale farmers of Comon Yaj Noptic farm 376 hectares of coffee spread out among various small communities. The farmers are committed to protecting the surrounding natural resources, and they have support from environmental organizations such as Conservation International to continue reducing their impact in the region which includes the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve.

Co-op members vote on how they want to use their Fair Trade premiums each year at a democratic assembly.  In the past, they have used the funds to help members connect their farms to sources of electricity, as well as to build roads and repair bridges. Comon Yaj Nopticʼs most recent project is a vegetable-growing initiative geared toward the women in the communities near the city of San Cristobal de las Casas. The co-operative provides training and materials to the women, who work in teams grouped together by community. At the moment, the women are growing the vegetables for themselves and their families, but the program's future goal is to sell the extra crop in local markets to supplement their income from coffee.

Quick Facts

Altitude: 900-1,550 metres

Cultivars: Typica and Bourbon

Annual production: 3,063 bags

Harvest months: January - April

Shipping months: March - June

Number of members: 142

Average hectares per member: 2