Located seventy kilometers away from Guatemala City in the department of Chimaltenango, is the municipality of San Martín Jilotepeque, a historic place with a rich ancestral tradition and important archaeological sites, keeper of the legacy of the indigenous Mayan peoples of the highlands of the Central American country.
In San Martín, more than 80% of the population belongs to indigenous ethnic groups, descendants of the Kaqchiquel kingdom. Its inhabitants are engaged in trade, the manufacture of handicrafts, weaving, agriculture and coffee cultivation.
Irma Aracely Vargas, who lives in one of the villages of the municipality, is 30 years old and has dedicated the last 6 years of her life to coffee production.
“Now that I am part of the MOCCA Program, I have learned about soil management, how to make a fertilization plan, pest and disease control, and how to renovate and rehabilitate my farm” Irma comments with enthusiasm.
Irma is one of the 3,000 coffee growers served by the MOCCA & UNEX partnership in Guatemala, through which technical training is provided to help coffee growers in the region increase their productivity, facilitating access to quality genetic material, good cultivation and post-harvest practices, participation in certification programs and connecting them to higher value markets.
In response to mobilization restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, MOCCA implemented the Comprehensive Remote Training Program “Mi Parcelita de Oro”, which, through virtual platforms such as WhatsApp Business and Facebook, created a regional community of coffee farmers who receive information on best practices through short videos, user-friendly manuals, among others.
For farmers without internet access, the Comprehensive Remote Training Program uses mass SMS text messages, phone calls, and individual visits by trainers.
Irma Vargas thinks it is great that they can continue to learn virtually in addition to the visits of trainers, and the videos and manuals shared by MOCCA to learn better growing practices and on how to prevent coffee pests and diseases. “We can also consult with the trainers via WhatsApp”, says Irma Vargas.
The training programs facilitated by MOCCA & UNEX, have enabled farmers like Irma to improve the quality of their crops and sell coffee at a better price, which produces higher income for their families and brings development to their communities.
“We women are capable of harvesting good coffee and growing our farms to provide employment and help other people. I feel very happy to belong to MOCCA and to see that every day more and more women have the opportunity to prosper.
Through this partnership we serve 3,000 farmers in the areas of Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango, and Santa Rosa (Guatemala), for which we train anchor buyers with traceability certainty, technical support for continuous and sustainable improvement, access to certified genetic material, and participation in certification programs, administrative organization and production traceability units through technology.