The Federacion Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala (FECCEG) is an association of small organic coffee producers established in 2006. FECCEG currently works with 10 cooperatives in Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Sololá, San Marcos, and Quetzaltenango, and over 1,000 farmers, of which more than 350 are women. Their mission is to promote and support the sustainability of small-scale producers by providing training in the production of organic coffee, honey, and sugar cane, in addition to value-chain support services. FECCEG seeks to increase the incomes of member producers, while also promoting environmental sustainability and gender equality. In 2013, Kishé Foods, LLC (Kishé) was founded in California as a subsidiary of FECCEG in order to help the association have a more established presence in the U.S. market. In addition, as a social enterprise, Kishé Foods serves to strengthen the coffee value chain by directly selling Guatemalan coffee to US consumers.
While FECCEG has seen much success in promoting its mission and reaching its goals, as it continues to grow it has requested assistance from the Farmer-to-Farmer program in areas related to organizational development, marketing, traceability, and product handling and safety. Father and son duo, Tommy and Arthur Bassett, collaborated on two team assignments in 2016 and 2017 focused on developing FECCEG’s communications and marketing strategies to increase coffee sales locally, with the potential to open more coffee shops in the region. During their recent trip to follow-up on their initial assignments, the duo visited the Kishé Coffee and Tea shop in Xela where they evaluated current operations and made recommendations to improve their sales, advertising, product display, and the overall layout of the store.
Overlapping with Arthur and Tommy’s assignments, volunteer Blake Scott worked closely with staff and the volunteer duo to create a series of promotional videos for FECCEG, specifically highlighting Kishé and their women-grown coffee brand. Recent F2F volunteers have also included Keith Moore, who collaborated with FECCEG leadership to develop a 2017-2022 strategic plan, with an updated monitoring & evaluation system. The latest volunteer, Michael Drankwalter, led several workshops with FECCEG beekeepers and honey producers on added-value products that they could develop with their excess honey, including bee wax, honey straws, soaps, creams, and lip balms.
Since 2014, 13 F2F assignments have been completed with FECCEG on various topics within the coffee and honey value chains. During the remainder of the program cycle, F2F will seek to continue building on the accomplishments and progress it has made with FECCEG in promoting Guatemalan coffee and increasing the income opportunities of local farmers.