Fair Trade Organic Coffee from Chiapas

In July of 2000, one bag (69 kilos) of green coffee beans from the Mut Vitz co-operative in Chiapas finally arrived in Ireland. It was roasted in Galway at the Galway Coffee Company and subsequently received much praise for it’s quality from all who tried it. Samples were given to various coffee sellers who are very interested in the coffee, but I found that’s it is very difficult to make a deal and sell something to somebody if you are not sure that you can supply the product. Importing coffee requires a lot of capital, and storage space.

It is hoped that there will be a constant supply available, at least in Galway. From this point we will to be able to expand and follow up on the connections that were made this year.


Also published in Chiapas Revealed which you can print out as a PDF file 

Chiapas revelaed


Mut Vitz Coffee Co-operative

The communities which are linked together to make up the Mut Vitz co-operative live in the mountainous regions of the highlands of Chiapas, southern Mexico, in the following six municipalities: El Bosque, (Autonomous Mucicipality of San Juan de la Libertad) Simojovel, Bochil, Jitotol, San Andrés Sacam’chén Chenalhó.

There are around 1000 producers in the co-op with an annual estimate of total coffee production which exceeds 690 tonnes.

The Mut Vitz co-operative is made up of indigenous Tzotzil farmers Mut Vitz is recognised under Mexican law and has recently acquired its export licence.

At this time, the producers are in a period of transition from traditional ‘natural production’ to ‘organic certification’, both being methods which place particular attention on sustainable practices for cultivation and development of coffee.

Mut Vitz co-ordinates a network of 48 organic promoters, working in 24 communities. They are involved in a participative process of transfer of ‘know-how’ of organic coffee production. The promoters have already made large advances towards consolidating their own organisational structure and local leadership.

Because of the governmental attacks suffered by the population of this mountainous zone, the producers have moved to create alternative social and economic structures to develop their communities.

A critical aspect in the creation of alternative economic models which help in the search for social ends for justice, democracy, sustainability, and also to cover the most basic necessities of the people; food, health, local infrastructure, is the sale of their coffee on the Fair trade Market.

Local Initiatives for sustainable Development

Co-ops like Mut Vitz are examples of the level of local initiative which exists, working in conditions which allow them to struggle for a change in relation to Indigenous rights and human dignity in Chiapas.

The principle objectives of the program for co-operative development and the betterment of production by organic practices include:

• Improve knowledge of appropriate technology for organic production.

•Improve potential for selling at Fair Trade price on national and international markets.

•Improve the infrastructure of each member and collectively of the co-operative to guarantee strict quality control and lower cost of processing, transportation and care of the coffee.

•Improve the general and economic well being of each member and their families.

The producers of Mut Vitz continue to be enthusiastic, despite the political and economic challenges that confront them. The members of autonomous initiatives continually find themselves under threat of attack.

Since the beginning of 1995, starting with the invasion of the Lacandon Jungle by Mexican Federal Army and continuing with the current situation of ‘low-intensity war’ against the indigenous people of Chiapas. Organisations that maintain independence from the party in office live under constant intimidation, aggression and threats.

This has, of course created a series of obstacles to each and every proposal for community development. However, the members have not become disheartened with continuing to pursue their co-operative and economic goals.

This is why the self sufficient model, in respect to production by the indigenous community in resistance has drawn attention from the government, paramilitary groups and coffee plantation owners to the members of Mut Vitz.

19th September 2000, Solidarid Directa con Chiapas, Zürich, Switzerland.

Last year we followed with extreme worry, the wave of attacks suffered by the Mut Vitz producers. We feel the need to raise our voice to report the deaths of the following members of Mut Vitz:

13 January 2000
Martín Sánchez Hernández Chabajeval

1st February 2000
Rodolfo Gómez, Martin Gómez, Lorenzo Pérez Hernández, Chabajeval

16th Febuary 2000
Manuel Nuñez GómezBochil, La Lagunita

25th July 2000
Pascual Sánchez Gomez, Chabajeval

9th September 2000
Marcos Ruiz Hernández, San Antonio El Brillante

We join in the pain of these communities, and we send them our support and love,


100% Chiapaneco Coffee - Caf_ Mut Vitz, grown by the people of the autonomous communities of the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

100% Arabica Beans. Grown in Chiapas. Roasted in Galway.

•Produced using traditional ecological methods with respect for the environment and the coffee itself.

•Direct from the producers. First hand fair trade certification.

•Buying this coffee will help support further imports to Europe, thereby aiding the Mut Vitz co-operative to combat the severe political and economic challenges that confront them.

•Available green, roasted, or ground from the Galway Coffee company in Galway, email enquiries to coffeeproject@nada.buz.org.

Also published in Chiapas Revealed which you can print out as a PDF file 

Chiapas revelaed

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