ACPROA, El Salvador
The community of La Palma relies heavily on handcrafts, agriculture, and tourism to support its small economy. Its main cash crop is of course, coffee like many Latin American countries. ACPROA is a very small and recently established cooperative (2009) of coffee growers that will be directly exporting their coffee for the first time this year to Just Us!. They are currently uncertified but with our support will be certified SPP and organic in the one to two years’ time.
It was in La Palma, in 1984, that the first UN-sponsored peace talks took place between the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the Government of El Salvador, earning the town the name “Cradle of Peace” or “Cuna de la Paz” in Spanish. As a result of these talks the El Salvador Civil War ended in 1992 preparing the long road ahead to democracy.
The mountains and forests surrounding La Palma and the Department of Chalatenango served as a stronghold for the many peasant farmers that fought for their rights as guerilla FMLN forces during the civil war. Today, after many years of hardship these guerilla fighters have laid down their guns, returned to their farms, and pooled their coffee together for Just Us!.
Chalatenango Department only became a coffee growing region of El Salvador recently. Peasants who fled their homes to escape the violence of the Salvadoran Civil War, labored in the country’s coffee plantations of Santa Ana to support their families. When they returned to their homes after the war, they brought back seeds of the Paca variety from the plantations and started growing coffee as a cash crop. Paca is one of the varieties in this pooled lot of coffee.