Cooperativa Cafetalera Sanmarqueña Ltd., or COCASAM, is a small group of dedicated coffee producers in Honduras that was founded in 1988 by a group of 16 coffee farmers. COCASAM is democratically managed by a board of five elected trustees and a three-person oversight committee. The organization's manager, Geovanny Lopez, began working with the cooperative 18 years ago as an accountant. "I didn't know anything about coffee," he says, "but I was thrown into the world of coffee." Geovanny took his earnings and bought a parcel of land so that he could begin farming himself in order to better understand the highs and lows of coffee farming. After years of hard work with the cooperative, Geovanny was promoted to manager, which is a job he really enjoys because he is able to promote community development while protecting the environment.
The pine forest area where COCASAM members farm is an ideal microclimate for growing coffee, but the protected status of the forest makes it impossible for farmers to increase their incomes by increasing the size of their farms. Instead, farmers must make the most out of the trees they have by increasing yield and quality. This has led farmers to double down on their quality production techniques and agronomic best practices, raising COCASAM's cup profile to new heights.