Mayan raw cane sugar is prepped for Italy
San Jose, 28 March (CSF)-The small farmers of Cooperatives Without Borders FECCEG of Guatemala received a letter of intent to purchase several tons of sugar from the Italian brand Alce Nero.
They will become the pioneers in the organic panela (raw cane sugar) industry for export from Guatemala. Its production is the first and only in the Italian market of Mayan tradition and flavor.
The business took nearly four years to mature and is the result of the Without Borders business model characterized by the articulation and establishment of direct and long-term business relations between producers and buyers who are committed to adding value at the source and the development of new products.
"It all started with organic honey," recalled marketing manager Juan Francisco González. “We needed to feed the bees with organic sugar, which was right when Cooperatives Without Borders suggested to us the production of raw cane sugar for the international market. So we started to look at foreign technologies since Guatemala didn't have any. We visited Norandino Peru as well as other cooperatives in Costa Rica and Colombia, but we were fooling ourselves thinking we could use a closed evaporation system which was very expensive."
The General Coordinator of Without Borders Rosa Bustillos explained that it was a long process of consultations which started in 2013 that allowed them to consider the open evaporation system technology because of its high level of energy self-sufficiency and its idyllic design for processing quality panela.
“At that time in Guatemala there were no examples of this type of industry or product. Along with Without Borders we chose the most suitable technology, obtained the endorsement for the management of work capital and acquired the design of the plant. Here you just couldn’t find anyone who had that work experience,” stated Gonzalez.
He indicated that the intended purchase is at least 10 containers of panela of 24t per year, anticipating the first export to be at least six containers in mid-2017.
Fecceg has 55 hectares of sugarcane in cultivation from 50 families hoping to maintain and expand their supply in the market. Fecceg's panela will be marketed by Alce Nero emphasizing the origin of the product and the identity of its small producers, featuring the small producer’s certification symbol.
The cane growing areas intended for the production of panela are Catarina San Marcos and Zacapa, both located at an altitude between 200 and little more than 300 meters above the sea level.
The cooperative without borders Fecceg exports coffee and organic honey to markets in Europe and North America. It also sells with its own brand in the local market under the name of Kishé.
To the date the organic panela Without Borders business model has been replicated in three cooperatives from three countries in Central and South America, namely Norandino who has the greatest expertise and volume; followed by Nicaragua's Cooproca and now Fecceg respectively.
Pictured from right to left, plant design expert Victor Rojas next to the task force and Manager of Fecceg during a technical visit
nl / 28.03.17
translated by Jesse Trace