Our History
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Muxbal is located on the slope of the Tacana Volcano, bordering with Guatemala.

This is the story of how Muxbal Coffee Plantation was begun with Enrique Rodriguez. Thanks to some of my father's writing which I have compiled, along with tales from friends and family, as well as my own experiences and memories. I shall tell you a little about the history of the plantation.

 




 

The year was 1959, my father had been offered the purchase of the “Monte Perla” plantation, on the very day he went to see the property, the Ochoa brother ’ s passed by and offered to sell him Muxbal plantation.

The next day they went to Muxbal and this is what they encountered: to begin with, there was no road, they had to go up on foot. There was a simple farmhouse, where the hens and pigs wandered in and out as they pleased. A coffee bean wet-and-dry mill that needed to be totally revamped, a coffee plantation that was totally devastated.


 


Even so, my father returned from the plantation in a state of exhilaration. What did he feel? What did he see? Why did he like it? Was it a challenge for him?
Only he knows...

He got back to Tapachula and went to talk with my grandfather (Juan Luethje) to see if it was feasible to dissolve the Corporation they shared at the “Chanjul" plantation, which they had bought two years earlier, and request his aid so as to acquire Muxbal.

My grandfather did indeed help him out, but both he and friends who knew the plantation could not fathom how my father could assume such a commitment.


 

 
The first thing he did was clean up the house to make it livable: one room was set aside for my father’s use, and the rest for the administrator and his family.

Little by little, he got the mill – both wet and dry functional, and he replanted the plantation.


Construction of the road was undertaken in 1965 or so. First, it was broadened so that the mules could carry the coffee down, then for a car to drive up.



Dynamite had to be obtained to move many rocks out of the way and with the help of a roadman (called caminero here in Chiapas – it’s a person who is not an engineer, but who makes his living making roads), the construction of the road was begun: first from Union Juarez to the river, then from the plantation down to the river. This took several years of work. In that first year, my father began working in the Intituto Mexicano del Café (Mexican Coffee Institute), and so my grandfather had to take on the supervision of the work.

In 1966, my father invited several people to join together and sponsor the paving of the road to Union Juarez, a feat accomplished thanks to the State Governor, Dr. Samuel León Brindis.

In 1968, the house was enlarged by adding on a room for our family.

 Coffee processing began to be mechanized.

The road was finally finished. In gratitude, my father gave to my grandfather the keys of the jeep so he would be the first person to drive up the road to the plantation. It was fitting that it should be so, as my grandfather had overseen the construction of the road through all its phases.
Naturally, on some curves, the vehicle could not easily get by and some fancy maneuvering was required. But these are problems that have been smoothed out over the years, and today you can drive up the road with absolutely no difficulty.

My brothers, my children and I all learned to drive here.
The plantation was re-planted with the Catuai variety. A 400,000 plant nursery was created, but the river flooded and half of the young plants were lost. Of the remaining plant, some 15,000 were given to our neighbors.

 Our Goals: Reconstruction of the sleeping quarters and kitchen for the unmarried farm laborers and a The tortilla factory.


The road now finished, the plantation replanted, the sleeping quarters and kitchen rebuilt, it was now time to re-do the house. The original house was knocked-down; all of the wood that could recouped was re-used and a new house was built on the same lot.

The 5-year sustainable production goal is 30 qq. parchment / hectare. (1 quintal is equivalent to 46 Kg). This is to be achieved by implementing agricultural practices that make rational use of existing resources, working in harmony with nature, incorporating knowledge and focusing on four key points, which are:  Product quality,  Economic profitability,  Social responsibility,  Environmental leadership.


The plantation´s annual work plan is drawn up according to the goals and includes: the investment budget, a description of the plantation´s production process, the environmental and socio-economic frame-work, maintenance and repairs to be done to the plantation´s installations, paths, living quarters, etc.

The plantation consists of 236 hectares, of which 144 Ha. are planted with coffee of the Catuaí, Mondo Novo and Caturra varieties, set at 2 x 1 mts. apart, under the shade of Inga trees (Inga jalapensis) and an annual production of 21 qq. parchment / Ha. (1 hectare = 2.471 acres).

Our main commitment is to integrate the economic, social and ecological aspects of the coffee plantation. This means we must increase and maintain production and search for better sales prices.

The social aspect represents 78% of our investment which is laid out mainly in manpower and food. During harvesting, 300 to 350 people live at the plantation and receive food, lodging and medical attention.

As to our responsibility to nature, we have an ecological reserve, we protect rivers and water sources, and we have cut back drastically on the use of agro-chemicals.

 I have such fond childhood memories: how we used to love going to the icy waters of the river, playing in the processing buildings, helping to choose the coffee, walking in the countryside, fog inside the house, the rain falling on the roof and that ever-pervasive, delicious smell of coffee! History repeats itself in my own children…
 

The day came when my Dad said: “I have worked long and hard, I no longer wish to see the plantation”.
I have taken up this formidable task since then, and I am grateful for my father who continues to give me his counsel and for the help from so many people.



 

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