Honduras Honey - Comsa, City (mild) Roast, Fair Trade Organic
Cupping notes: Pear/Currant/Silky
Co-Op: Café Orgánico Marcala Sociedad Anónima
Variety: Catuai, Caturra, Lempira, Pacas
Region: Marcala, Montecillos
Certifications: Fair Trade, Organic
69 Indigenous Lenca smallholder coffee farmers founded Café Orgánico Marcala Sociedad Anónima (COMSA) in December 2001 to reach new and alternative development opportunities for smallholders coffee farmers in Marcala, Honduras. The founders were interested in selling their coffee collectively. At that time, most farmers in the region used conventional practices and sold to local coyotes. The prices they received for their coffee was often below the price of production.
The primary objective of COMSA was to seek new production and marketing methods for smallholder coffees. They encouraged their members to move from conventional to organic production, and they sought out specialty buyers to secure more sustainable prices. In the beginning, the challenges were enormous, as transitioning from conventional to organic practices can cause dramatic drops in production yields. Many members became discouraged and left the organization.
In response, the COMSA Board of Directors and technical team looked for new methods of intensive organic agriculture to support the transition. To this end, they established a strategic alliance with the Corporación Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense (CEDECO).
With CEDECO’s support, staff and members of COMSA learned new and innovative practices to transform their lands into integrated organic farms. They promoted soil and water conservation and the preservation of local plant and wildlife. Meanwhile, members began to see improvements in coffee yields, and COMSA membership began to grow rapidly.
Today COMSA has a waiting list of producers who would like to join. The organization’s lead farmers continue to demonstrate effective, regenerative organic practices that both improve productivity and protect plants from common diseases.