Francisco, 70 has been farming cacao for 20 years. Together with his wife Brigida, Francisco has raised seven children and helped bring up an innumerable number of grandchildren – literally, he couldn’t say how many there were. He lives with Brigida and their grandson Mark, who just graduated high school with a major in agriculture, and kindly helped translate in the gathering of this information. Francisco's native language is Maya Mopan.
Francisco is in the process of transferring his profound knowledge accumulated during 20 years of farming cacao, the sole source of income for his family, to his grandson. Like many of his peers, Mark is faced with the choice between farming and scarcely available employment in town. Mark says he wants to expand the scope of Francisco's farm to introduce some fresh vegetables, and to experiment with making and applying organic fertilizer. He also hopes to utilize his experience in food processing by using the fresh veg to make products that are not available locally.
By being able to include his grandson in the ranks of hired help to assist with cleaning and pruning this season, Francisco will invest in the farm while also making a human capital investment to provide opportunity for his grandson to explore farm-related forms of sustenance. Cleaning and pruning is a key investment when it comes to cacao as it eases access to the trees for harvesting, prevents spread of mold infestation and increases yields in the coming harvest season.
About Maya Mountain Cacao
Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) is a for-profit social enterprise that sources premium cacao beans from smallholder farmers in Belize. Founded in 2010, it generates income for marginalized farmers while promoting sustainable agricultural practices in the southern part of the country.
These cacao farmers use Kiva credit to invest in farm maintenance, improvement and expansion. For example, they might hire workers to help with the harvest or buy inputs such as better tools and seedlings.