Asociación Chajulense Va’l Vaq Quyol (ASOCHAJUL) is a prominent organization in the small city of Chajul, nestled in the remote mountains of Guatemala. While the city has over 25,000 inhabitants, most people are unemployed and live in poverty. In 1988, Mayan farmers and surviving members of the former cooperative La Unión Ixil established an informal association to address the exploitation of farmers by intermediaries and to provide members with affordable access to necessities. Members worked together to create a pharmacy, purchase a corn mill and open a small grocery store. ASOCHAJUL was formally founded in 1990 by 1,800 farmers in San Gaspar Chajul, El Quiche, Guatemala. In the years that followed, ASOCHAJUL transitioned to 100 percent organic and in 1994 became Fair Trade certified organic. The emphasis on respect for the natural world comes from a deep cultural belief of the Mayan people to “work the land without violence.” Members believe that while everyone has a right to improve his or her quality of life, nature has to be respected. The association continues to place great importance on conservation of the environment for present and future generations. They are currently working on developing a system of organic compost using vermiculture. They hope this will improve the soil quality and the production of coffee. In 1991, ASOCHAJUL incorporated more communities into their organization, constructed their main offices and purchased machinery. ASOCHAJUL now has about 2,000 members. It offers these small farmers, many of whom only own half a hectare, hope to change their lives and gain access to basic services that most residents in the Chajul area lack.
Number of Members:
San Gaspar Chajul