Thomas, age 44, is from the beautiful village of Santa Ana, where he’s starting the second harvest from his six-year-old trees. Santa Anna is on the Moho River, which originates in Guatemala and passes through the village. Thomas, a farmer by vocation, cultivates the traditional package of corn, rice and beans for home use, and got involved in cacao six years ago inspired by a stable and booming market for organic cacao.
His wife Josephina accompanies Thomas to the farm during harvesting time. Thomas and Josephina brought up seven children, age five to 23. For Thomas, cacao is among the best crops to invest in to have a secure source of income for the future. “My favorite part of cacao is harvesting because all I have to do is walk and pick the ripe pods,” says Thomas. He finds pruning to be the most challenging part of cacao farming as it requires a lot of lone time spent on the farm, hence his interest in hiring help with the process.
Thomas is requesting the loan to hire help with the routine cleaning and pruning. Cleaning is the process of removing overgrown bushes on the cacao and the buffer zone to make it accessible for harvesting. Pruning is the removal of unproductive branches and helps increase yields per acre in the coming season by allowing the plant to direct energy to producing pods, which grow directly on the tree trunk.
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.