Brigido, age 65, and his wife Andrea live in the beautiful village of San Jose, which is located in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. San Jose is one the oldest village in the Toledo district with a population of over 500 who are mostly Mopan Maya and are the main producers of cacao in the district.
Brigido and his wife have seven children, who are all involved in cacao production, and are currently residing in San Jose. His wife helps him on the farm with harvesting and cracking cacao pods at harvesting time. Brigido was encouraged to plant cacao by his dad to have a reliable means of income. “I like cacao because it is a permanent crop and I can earn my income from it for the rest of my life,” says Brigido.
“My favorite part is picking, because I know that I am picking money from the tree,” says Brigido. The challenging part for him is cleaning around the cacao farm – chopping the underbrush to clear access to trees.
The family is requesting this loan in order to hire people for cleaning and pruning the cacao farm. Pruning is the process of removing non-productive branches to raise yields for the next crop and is typically done towards the end of the cacao harvest season. A part of the loan will also be used to bag soil so that they can expand their six acres cacao to eight acres.
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.