Fund loans to ten coffee farmers to diversify their coffee production with organic honey, thereby improving the income and living conditions of their families and inspiring other smallholder (coffee) farmers in Chiapas to invest in organic honey as a diversification strategy that really works and improves their lives.
10 farmers and families
ABOUT THE LOANS
In Mexico's poorest state, Chiapas, agriculture is the primary source of income and main food source for many people, yet the sector has been largely ignored by major national financial institutions. Smallholder farmers are facing significant challenges-from lack of or limited access to markets, market information and financial services and certifications, to climate change and price volatility.
Small-scale farmers produce 80% of Chiapas' coffee on plots of land less than 5 hectares and belong to indigenous ethnic groups that have historically been marginalized, excluded and discriminated against-particularly women. They do not have access to resources to diversify their coffee production with honey or other important crops in face of climate change, when diversification is more important than ever. Producers are also highly dependant on greedy intermediaries (coyotes) and loan sharks that charge interest rates between 8-10% and pay very little for their products.
We raised $10,000 in micro-loans for farmer-led savings and credit fund "FondoMás" to support ten smallholder coffee producers diversify into organic honey by starting their own or growing their beekeeping business, eliminating dependency on coyotes and connecting farmers to major national buyers.
WHY DIVERSIFY WITH HONEY?
Climate Change disproportionately affects small-holder farmers, especially coffee farmers. As conditions for coffee farming are changing and the market price for coffee is seeing all-time lows, coffee farming is no longer a sustainable living. Integrating honeybees into coffee systems benefits the environment, coffee production, and community livelihoods. As we know, pollinators are essential to our ecosystems and their ability to pollinate the coffee plants helps to create strong and healthy coffee systems. When farmers can produce organic honey with beekeeping, they open a new stream of income and increase their family's income security.