Chiapas Beekeeper Collective (Mexico)
High in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico 46 beekeepers have formed a fair trade certified cooperative and the whole community prospers from the honey harvest. The 5,860 hives have been tended by Mayan communities for generations. Although there is a centuries-old beekeeping tradition here, honey production has only recently been recognized as a viable and stable income opportunity in the global market. It creates meaningful employment, the beekeepers can develop the quality of their lives, and send their children to school.
In years past middlemen, or “coyotes,” took a majority of the beekeepers’ income. With fair trade, the middlemen are removed and the cooperatives work autonomously and directly with customers. The beekeepers are able to improve standards for their families, their communities and their honey, and protect precious rainforests and native habitat.
President of the Cooperative, Fortunato Samayoa Fernandez says this about their lives since becoming a fair trade cooperative:
“We are happy about having a strong presence in the United States. Here in Motozintla, coffee and honey are our main economic influences. Although our market fluctuates locally, since Fair Trade, we are now working on a price base that’s competitive and reliable.”