What is IMPCT doing in Honduras?
First of all, why Honduras?
“Sure, things here are difficult, but when the water gets rough it becomes all the more important that you stay and row the boat to the shore.” – Dad.
I am paraphrasing, but what my father would always try to tell me was that I had a moral obligation to my nation.
It worked. Well, sort of.
I am currently not in Honduras so I’m not following through with the “stay” part. As a Honduran, however, I do feel a strong sense of duty towards my country and my people. It comes with a constant voice in my head asking “but, are you doing enough?” Hint: It feels like the answer is often no.
But I am not here to talk about my inner voices, instead, about the things we are currently doing in Honduras with IMPCT Coffee and, more importantly, the things we can do and how you can be a part of that.
Before that, a coffee break.
The motives to work in Honduras, however, are not just philosophical or personal, it just makes sense. You see, coffee is the country’s largest agricultural export, and despite our land area being only one tenth of Colombia’s, we produce more than half of what they do.
In fact, Honduras is the sixth largest coffee producer in the world.
Volume is not the only place we excel at, the quality of Honduran specialty coffee is increasingly being recognized worldwide. This is evident in the annual Cup of Excellence (CoE) competition organized by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence. In the past two years, Honduran coffee has broken world records at the CoE auction.
In 2016, a Geisha grown by Marysabel Caballero in Chinacla, La Paz, sold for US$120.05 per pound. At the time, this was the highest price ever paid for CoE coffees worldwide. My family and I had the pleasure of being invited to one of the farms and processing facilities by Marysabel and her husband, Moisés Herrera. Their quality control practices are outstanding. I believe they employ some of those while making hen soup, because I had one (or three) bowls and it is the best I have ever tried.
The record price was again broken next year, in 2017, when Oscar Daniel Ramirez sold a Parainema variety lot for US $124.50 per pound. His coffee was grown in the region of Danli, El Paraiso and obtained a score of 91.81 points.
The CoE program has created incentives for producers to focus on quality and improve their production and processing methods. Between 2004 and 2014, the benefit received by participating Honduran farmers has been over US $3 million. The worldwide exposure has also created more opportunities for producers, cooperatives and exporters to enter new markets.
But despite the good news, its richness in natural resources and being inhabited by remarkable people, Honduras is still one of the poorest, most vulnerable countries in the world. Overcoming the pressing social challenges that we have will require innovative and scalable solutions and plenty of work, but it can be done.
How to change that through coffee?
1. Generate Awareness
Our Honduran coffee comes from Marcala and Ocotepeque, two of the country’s main coffee regions. Since September 2017, we sell them in Taipei, Taiwan. Our cafe, pop-up stores and events we attend are an opportunity to showcase Honduran coffee and the unique flavor profiles it can offer.
2. Be part of a community
Fortunately, the Honduran and Latino community in Taiwan is very strong and as warm as you would expect it to be. At each one of our events we have Hondurans and Latinos showing up, sharing about us and giving messages of encouragement (trust me, these have a bigger impact than you imagine.) We also like to collaborate with other, local entrepreneurs. For example, Nini’s Corner, who is run by Ingrid, a Honduran baker that makes delicious Semitas and Chilenas.
3. Generate Impact
We have not implemented our early education model in Honduras yet. Our goal is to replicate there what has already worked in other countries where we work: invest the profits of coffee sales into interventions that can empower Honduran women to run education centers. Do you want to help us start doing this sooner? Read below!
How can you help?
Nothing we do is meant to be done by ourselves. In any case, the largest value we can bring is inspiring others to do what we do, and even do it better. It is ideal if we can do this together! So, if you have ideas on how to collaborate with us, please feel free to email me at email@example.com!
– Juan Diego