Promotion of coffee advances in Chiapas


During a year of work, the International Labor Organization (ILO)), the National Institute of Social Economy (INAES) and the Tecnológico de Monterrey, advance in the LABOR Chiapas initiative.


This initiative seeks to promote productive employment and decent work in the rural economy in coffee-growing municipalities of the Los Altos de Chiapas Region.

Mildred Berrelleza, regional director of the Central Zone Entrepreneurship Academic Department and project leader consultant by Tec, explains:

“This fairly large consulting project, came through the International Center for Social Inovaction (CIIS) of Tec de Monterrey, the ILO sought this cooperation directly. Last year precisely at CIIS the contract for this project was being signed ”.

For a year Tec de Monterrey, through CIIS, has served as the executing arm of this initiative, giving way to the development of the first stage, which consists of the theoretical bases of the project.

Promotion of productive employment and decent work in the rural economy in coffee-growing municipalities
The initiative seeks to promote productive employment and decent work.

Mildred highlights the importance of the strength that Tec has because this consultancy had the participation of a multidisciplinary team from different campuses in the country.

“What follows is to implement everything we find and build, for the moment it is in theory, but of course it is fed by the narratives, the field work, the meetings we had in Jomanichim and in San Cristóbal”, explains Mildred.

The expert comments that an international social innovation consultancy called Agirre Lehendakaria Center, located in Bilbao, Spain was also involved. They developed some tools that they helped to implement in the research.

“There were different moments in this first stage, in which different institutions were linked, such as the Ministry of Welfare, private sector actors, universities, etc.”.

The total number of institutions linked to this phase were 15 because each of them participates in different social innovation initiatives or in the coffee-growing context of the state of Chiapas.


For his part, Omar Cerrillo Garnica, professor, and researcher at the Tec de Monterrey School of Humanities in Cuernavaca was in charge of mapping the territories for the project.

For this, the ILO made them aware of the criteria for selecting the area to develop a project of this type, then they took on the task of investigating and investigating which region of the state of Chiapas met these criteria.

Some of them are that the community has associative work under a cooperative scheme, the territorial density, as well as that of privileging the safety of the consultants.

“There was an issue of ties and security that privileged decisions, for example, during a visit to Museo Café, where we met various associations and the issue of trust and security was theirs towards us,” explains Cerrillo.

This gave way to know the two visions of both the producers in Jomanichim and the face of the marketer in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

“They first seek to establish filters before allowing access, but that reluctance was not in Jomanichim and this allowed us to work with them hand in hand in a much easier way,” says Cerrillo.

Tec, through CIIS, has served as the executing arm of this initiative
Tec, through CIIS, has served as the executing arm of this initiative.


Jorge Estrada Gallegos, professor, consultant, and researcher at the Tec de Monterrey Chiapas campus, explains that to develop this social innovation project they were based on the Design Thinking methodology.

This methodology, as explained by Jorge Estrada, consists of understanding and solving the real needs of people, through tools, technology, and requirements for the success of a business.

It is divided into 5 phases that are: empathize, define, devise, prototype and evaluate.

“In this first stage commissioned by the ILO and INAES from Tec, we arrived within this process until the prototyping part”, explains Estrada.

Jorge Estrada comments that in this research the two narratives were revealed, both that of producers and that of marketers, where these main challenges were identified:

  • Low price at which the producers sell the product and the high number of intermediaries that exist up to the points of sale in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.
  • Disjointed work and lack of accompaniment to small producers in coffee communities.
  • Lack of business culture in cooperatives.
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In both sectors, the concern was the same, that is, the quality of the coffee and the difficulty of the producers to access a market that pays the right price.

For this, prototypes were developed that are presented as a first test of the construction of a hybrid value chain, that is, that has the intervention of the private sector and the public sector.

“The social innovation project is a co-creation process, that is, we do not do it ourselves, but together with the producers and with the innovation platform,” adds Estrada Gallegos.

The social innovation project seeks to provide more marketing alternatives to producers, through the initiatives that are being developed jointly.

The generation of this model shows a path based on cooperation and solidarity, key elements for the context.

This model shows a path based on cooperation and solidarity
This model shows a path based on cooperation and solidarity.

Martha Lucía Velázquez Díaz, director of the International Center for Social Innovation  emphasizes that the project led by the consultants is the beginning of a long-term collaboration with the ILO and with other international organizations that work in favor of the Development Goals Sustainable.

He also emphasizes that the interest and the problem in Chiapas is very great and that is why having the opportunity to test the proposed prototypes is very important to be able to scale these solutions to other regions later.

On the other hand, the second part of this project will consist of implementing, evaluating, and scaling it.

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At the moment it is being implemented in Chiapas as a pilot test and that will serve as a seedbed for future replication in other Latin American countries.


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