SMS Mexico - a look inside

24/07/23

 

The vast expanse of Mexico stretches for nearly 1,000 miles, rich with various ecosystems, deserts, beaches, a bustling capital city, and coffee. For her second chronicle in our dear newsletter, our colleague Michaela who is Traceability Manager for Mercanta, one of ECOM’s specialty coffee companies, is telling us more about her amazing experience with the SMS team in Mexico. 

 

Yearning to learn more about SMS and ECOM, last spring she embarked on her journey in Mexico where she had the exceptional opportunity to visit four coffee-producing states with the SMS team in Mexico – Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. 

 

 

The SMS team, underneath the massive AMSA, is comprised of staff members within Coatepec, Dos Ríos, Ixhuatlán, Huatusco, Jaltenango, San Cristobal, Oaxaca, Xicotepec, and Zacapoaxtla. There are 65 technicians serving these areas, 22 of which are women, all assisting the thousands of farms within the expansive AMSA network. There are 65 other employees working in the various SMS offices throughout Mexico, and 86 employees are dedicated solely to the nurseries in Dos Ríos, Invernadero, La Presa, and Jaltenango; 29 of which are women. 

 

AMSA itself is quite large, with 17,498 producers in total, growing coffee on 37,039 hectares. Specifically, within SMS, there are 10,479 producers, with 19,561 hectares.

 

With high production costs and lack of support from a governing body, many coffee producers in Mexico are struggling to maintain production, especially with the looming threats of climate change. The SMS team are working diligently to help these producers and ensure there is a future for coffee and for the many communities responsible for its production.

 

 

 

The mission of SMS Mexico is to "contribute to the improvement of the social, economic, environmental and health conditions of coffee growers and their families", and these goals are gradually being achieved amongst each of the coffee states.

 

Watching the SMS team working together was impressive, and it was amazing to see how this vast team was able to work together and impact a significant number of producers. Visiting the various mills, nurseries, farms, and offices aided in understanding the complexity behind the SMS Mexico team. In particular, the efforts from the team to assist producers with combating climate change guided by the innovative SMS team, were proven within the nursery in Dos Ríos. Here, Marsellesa and hybrids are carefully nurtured to disperse to each state of Mexico. 

 

It was equally wonderful to venture to the farms with technicians and one of the trip’s highlights was with Neftali Castro in Oaxaca, who is one of two technicians reaching thousands of producers. They climbed the mountains of Mixteca as he met with two different producer organizations. As they spoke, she took in the laughter and the support, and regards these interactions between the team and the producers as incredibly heartwarming moments. 

 

 

The whole SMS team is led by René Avila Nieto. He coordinates SMS Seminars to meet with the team in order to assess the progress, and to create a true community amongst the technicians and the office staff. As part of their efforts, René organized one of these seminars in Huatusco. Michaela says that throughout the seminar, the team demonstrated innovation, dedication, and professionalism. Everyone was bright, eager, and equipped to make positive changes in the name of a brighter future for coffee and its producers in Mexico. 

 

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