Sustainable coffee certification programs and coffee cooperatives in Guatemala : a small-scale producer perspective

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Madjidi, Omid
Asociación Nacional del Café (Guatemala)
Coffee growers
Sustainable agriculture
Coffee industry
Phenomenology (Research methodology)
Case studies (Research methodology)
Interviews (Research methodology)
This descriptive, phenomenological case study presents the perspectives of small-scale coffee producers in Guatemala regarding cooperative membership, sustainable coffee certification programs and the role of ANACAFE. The viewpoints of two producer cooperatives are described based on participant observation, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Through content analysis the transcribed data were categorized and summarized, and emergent themes are discussed. Advantages to cooperative membership include access to finances, information, cost sharing and expanding direct-trade relationships. Challenges identified are securing finances and attracting new membership. Certification programs may be desirable, but access to information regarding program types is limited. Participants feel that standards do not reflect cultural differences, and the producers question who actually receives the advertised price premiums. The use of best-practices incorporating the social, environmental and economic principles of certification programs is preferred. ANACAFE is a source of technical information and funding but resource access is selective and limited.
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