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IWD 2019: Women’s coffee in Honduras

IWD 2019: Women’s coffee in Honduras

The region of Ocotepeque is in the far West of Honduras, bordering El Salvador and Guatemala. It has the country’s highest peak and cloud forests in the Sierra del Merendón range, is the point at which Guatemala’s Rio Grande flows into Honduras and is just south of the ancient Mayan city of Copán, Honduras’ most popular tourist site.

It is also home to AMPROCAL, the women’s coffee co-operative where we source our Honduran coffee. The co-operative was founded in 2007 by a group of eight women entrepreneurs in the rural area of Pashapa la Labor and now has around 90 members, all women.

Some of the women from the AMPROCAL co-operative in western Honduras

One of the benefits the co-operative has brought to its members is access to credit, the importance of which is easily understood when you learn that it takes three years from planting a coffee bush to harvesting its first crop. In most coffee growing countries, credit is often harder or in some cases impossible for women to obtain, one of the many injustices that women coffee growers face compared to men.

The micro-credit services provided by the co-operative mean farmers who may struggle to receive credit through traditional means such as banks, can still get the money they need to improve & expand their crops.

Another benefit of co-operative membership is that members are able to receive a premium for the coffees they produce. Through negotiating power, achieving Fairtrade & Organic certifications and improving training to increase yields and quality, it all adds up to every member achieving better prices for their harvest.

These benefits extend to the future as well. AMPROCAL member Aldemara Herrera has said that the premium she receives for her coffee means her children now see coffee farming as a viable future for them as well.

Achieving better prices for coffee crops mean that young people are more likely to follow their parents into farming rather than following the trend for the young to move away from rural communities into more lucrative jobs in the towns & cities.

And the coffee itself? The organic beans we receive from AMPROCAL are one of the real highlights of the Bean to Door range. If you want to find out for yourself and support the Honduran women farmers, start a subscription here: https://www.beantodoor.co.uk/our-coffee/#honduras