Assisting Coffee Farmers in Honduras

We support the hard-working and dedicated farmers in our value chain. In January 2015, Kraft Heinz – via its Gevalia coffee brand - launched a partnership with TechnoServe, a nonprofit focused on strengthening business and technical skills in the developing world.

This initiative assisted Honduran smallholder coffee farmers and helped them achieve incremental income, 25 percent coffee yield increases and greater yield quality. Participating farmers received training on land preparation, planting, pest and disease control, and harvest and post-harvest management. This not only strengthens the yields of the farmers’ primary crop, but can also significantly improve the livelihood and food security of the farmers. Many coffee farmers in Honduras, a key coffee-growing area, have not had access to good agricultural support and are especially struggling to adapt their farming practices to the effects of a changing climate.

Results have been encouraging, and demonstrate the importance of programs like this as a means to improve farmer livelihoods in a sustainable manner. Approximately 3,000 coffee farmers have been trained to boost production and enhance the quality of their coffee beans. The project has also trained farmers on bean production practices and the various benefits of farm diversification (specifically, avocado production). The partnership has resulted in a 31 percent increase in farmer income. In addition, trained farmers have successfully implemented best management practices at an average rate 52 percent higher than in three control communities in Honduras. The surrounding communities where successful implementation occurs, directly benefits the farmers and those communities in many ways. For instance, successful farming operations acts as the catalyst to additional financial support to strengthen and expand businesses. This was key to the launch of 79 additional producer organizations that now sell directly to the local exporters.

One such beneficiary was Hector Emilio Cardona, who has been a coffee farmer for 25 years. His farm was severely affected by leaf rust in 2013, so he decided to replant with more disease-resistant varieties. Through the partnership with TechnoServe, Hector was able to build a solar dryer and improve the quality of his coffee. He sold 15,000 pounds to one of TechnoServe ́s export partners, earning Hector a $2,700 premium over what the exporter paid for conventional coffee. This gave him the ability to repay loans, fix his car, put a concrete floor in his house, and start construction on a new bathroom. Amazingly, Hector also donated some of his earnings to a neighborhood preschool.

Farmers like Hector were also encouraged to set up producer organizations that could sell directly to local exporters, giving them more potential markets for their products. These organizations not only facilitate the spread of best practices but also give farmers access to loans. Kraft Heinz and Gevalia are thrilled with this project, which led to clear positive outcomes and sustainable futures for thousands of coffee farmers in Honduras.