Comité Campesino del Altiplano / Highlands’ Committee of Small Scale Farmers (CCDA)
More info here.
The CCDA originated in March 1982, during the worst period of the Guatemalan Internal Armed Conflict, in San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Like other social organizations, many of its members were kidnapped, killed, or sent into exile by the Guatemalan government, which targeted social and human rights movements.
Today, the CCDA is an organization that fights to improve the living conditions of Indigenous farmers by seeking change in the social, economic and political spheres, as well as respect for cultures, ethnicities, languages, traditions and territories. In this manner, the CCDA fights against inequality and poverty. They also place political activism at the center of their activities.
The CCDA has five main tenets of their work. They support families and communities in subsistence farming with patio and community gardens, as well as small-scale fish farming. Excess products are then sold in local markets to provide an income for families. On a larger scale, the CCDA supports local small-scale coffee farmers to access international markets for the sale of their products at a fair price. They have also commercialized honey and macadamia nuts for local markets. In addition, the CCDA has a community tourism branch of the organization, which encourages sustainable eco-friendly tourism around Lake Atitlan.
Another important branch of the CCDA’s work is access to land. In a country where there is extreme inequality in access to land, the CCDA supports campesinos (peasant farmers) to recuperate ancestral lands or gain access to land through state entities or as repayment for work. As part of this work, the CCDA also supports community leaders, especially in the area of Alta Verapaz, who face criminalization for this work.
Finally, the CCDA includes women and gender as a key tenet of their work. The organization facilitates workshops and learning spaces for women, with a focus on building awareness of women’s rights, education and political participation.
BTS has worked with the CCDA since 2000 in developing a fair-trade coffee exportation relationship, through Just Us! Today, the CCDA markets its coffee, Café Justicia throughout Canada, parts of the USA and Europe. In Guatemala, this translates into hundreds of families benefiting from higher prices that fair trade guarantees, organic compost for future crops and the development of a CCDA scholarship program from coffee proceeds for children of small coffee producers. BTS also has provided accompaniment to the CCDA and community members affected by land evictions and criminalization.