Mexico Nubes de Oro Fairtrade Organic is grown in the state of Chiapas by members of Union de Productores Agroecologicos de N de O (UPANDO). As is common in many parts of Mexico, especially in the highlands, Chiapas is home to numerous marginalized communities. Coffee farming is the main source of income for these communities. In such agricultural areas, access to clean water, electricity, roads, as well as basic health and education services, is limited.
One way to gain better access to market and higher prices for coffee is to collectivize. UPANDO was founded in 2019 and is based in the municipality of Mapastepec. The organization’s 131 producer partners are drawn from the municipalities of Acacoyagua, Huixtla and Pijijiapan in the coastal regions. Each of these producers owns between 2-5 hectares of coffee.
UPANDO is located within a limited access buffer zone of the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, considered to be one of the world’s richest ecosystems in terms of biodiversity and endemism. However, it is also one of the most threatened and UPANDO was formed in large part to caretake and preserve this environment. To this end, Mexico Nubes de Oro Fairtrade Organic is cultivated and wet processed utilizing agroecological practices. (Some examples are Chapeo alto – use of a machete instead of a hoe to till soil without removing substantial amounts, using existing and native plants for shade cultivation, as well as applying organic fertilizers prepared from coffee pulp and other local ingredients.)
These initial phases of agronomy and processing are executed by individual producer partners. Once their coffee is in parchment, it is taken to the collection center. There the union staff inspect the quality and store it until 450 bags are accumulated. At this point the coffee is transferred to the dry mill.