The vast majority of farmers in the Marcala region of Honduras are of ancient Lenca indigenous roots. Although the language is lost, many of the traditional agricultural techniques have been maintained in their approach to modern-day agriculture. This has led to one of the most sophisticated organic production systems amongst coffee producing co-ops in Central America. They are a leader in promoting organic agriculture and play a key role in training and education of other fair trade and organic producer co-ops throughout the region.
It is a dangerous time to espouse freedom, fairness and democracy in Honduras. The democratically elected President Zelaya, voted in on a platform of constitutional change, economic reform and social justice in 2009, was ousted in a military coup backed by Honduras’ ruling elite - the very same interests who stand to gain most from income inequality, injustice and oppression. The threat of violent suppression is very real and lived with daily by the more vocal supporters of the People’s National Resistance Front (FNRP), many of whom are members of COMSA.
As with much of Central America, over the past two years COMSA has suffered greatly at the hands of coffee leaf rust. In 2013 they lost about 35% of their harvest to rust. In 2014 that increased to over 50%. This has led to additional costs spent sorting coffee and less coffee that is worthy of export as specialty grade.
This year Just Us! paid an additional 40 cents per pound to be spent exclusively on measures to help combat the rust epidemic. Just Us! paid a total of US$3.22/lb for this microlot from Lennon Diaz.