Erika Sanchez is the owner of 2.5 hectares of land in the San Antonio Huista area of Huehuetenango. The farm, La Montaña, is planted with Caturra, Bourbon and Pache, and sits at 1700masl. Erika is part of the Red de Mujeres, or 'network of women' in English and she manages her farm using organic fertilizer which she produces onsite. Erika doesn't use any chemical inputs and has diversified the other crops she grows on the land to safeguard for a sustainable future. The fermentation method she uses is fairly unique and is now been passed on to other members of ACODIHUE. Erika lets the coffee dry ferment for a longer period of time in controlled conditions in order to accentuate the fruity characteristics in the cup.
The Red de Mujeres, or 'network of women', is a large group of female coffee producers covering five different areas of Huehuetenango. The group is made up of 830 women. Within the entire community of women there are 8 different Mayan languages spoken, highlighting the diversity of culture and language in this area of Guatemala.
All of these women have been either widowed during the 36 years of civil war in Guatemala, or were left when their husbands fled the country during the coffee crisis between 2001 and 2004. Since Huehuetenango was one of the areas hardest hit by the crisis, many people decided to give up altogether and find work elsewhere, leaving their families behind.
With the help of ACODIHUE, these female producers have been united to market their coffee and find international buyers. ACODIHUE has also supported them in training in organic farming methods, from producing and applying fertilizers, to rust and pest control methods. Falcon has started working with ACODIHUE to improve the quality of production even further, starting with Red de Mujeres.