Oaxaca region / Southern Mexico
Mesofilas del Bosque
Mesofilas del Bosque is a cooperative in Oaxaca in Southern Mexico. The name refers to a tree frequently to be found in Oaxaca's rain forest. Many coop members have been part of the bigger cooperative Michzá Yeni Navan in recent years. The new, regionally organised coop is organising 130 indigenous small-scale farmers, many of them of the indigenous Zapatekos population group.
Besides fruit, vegetables and coffee for the local market, primarily organically cultivated coffee for export is produced. Coffee is not being produced in plantation farming, but by using traditional mixed-planting methods. This accounts for the coffee's typical aroma.
Oaxaca is one of the poorest regions in Mexico. At the same time, the number of people vanishing or being expelled from their land is increasing steadily. Further problems include land expropriation and the privatisation of communal property by energy corporations. Mining and dam projects are planned in a huge part of the country. Furthermore, the construction of wind parks is resulting in dramatical ecological and social problems. In the past, numerous murders and armed expropriation of indigenous communities have been caused by these developments; teachers' strikes and social protests have been bloodily suppressed as well.
The insight to be able to withstand volatile market mechanisms - at least partially - gives rise to the idea of coffee producers' cooperation and organisation. In practice, members are working different projects within the coop in order to improve their living situation. Pension funds for farmers and their families are to be established and financial funds are accumulated to provide first aid in cases of work accidents. Moreover, a members' fund is implemented to cover extraordinary expenses.