In the Buena Vista village in the El Paraíso department, women who had graduated from high school and university, whose professions included nursing assistants and farmers, have returned to their first love: coffee production. “I worked in a private school in Tegucigalpa. I earned a living, but the cost of living was higher. I did the math and realised that I had more money left over from coffee, so my husband and I returned to the countryside,” commented Katy Moncada, president of the “Women in Action” Farmer’s Association (Empresa Asociativa Campesina). 

Women in Action is made up of 16 women and 7 men.

“Because of economic problems, I thought about leaving the country after the 2017 harvest,” commented Diana Moncada. They had problems with drying and selling. “We sold to an intermediary, at the price he wanted. We saw that the scale he used gave him 8 pounds free for every 100 pounds,” concluded Katy. Moreover, climate change was a constant threat. “If we hadn’t done the pruning and fertilization we had learned about with PROGRESA, the drought would have lowered our yield to 222,7kg/ha,” noted Diana.

Berta Jarquín achieved yields of 1336 kg/ha, for which she was awarded the prize of best female producer in the department.

The fact that Pamela Moncada received a diploma in cupping helped her with marketing. “We have a clean cup. We have received as much as 87 points,” she explained. This improvement in quality has permitted the sale of 7.9 tons of dry pergamino coffee to an exporter. They are so enterprising that they produced organic Bokashi compost from coffee pulp. They also trained coffee producers in their region using the Farm Field School methodology. Achieving good bean quality required a co-investment with PROGRESA. “We contributed 40% of the cost of 10 solar dryers, and in two years we will contribute to capitalising the organisation with 1706 USD,” stated Ena Moncada.

Thanks to the support from PROGRESA and the farmers association “Women in Action”, we are less susceptible to climate change and local intermediaries. “Before, the business was only a name. Now, we negotiate with exporters based on what international prices will be, because they are concerned about the quality,” added Katy.