Albino age 60, a cacao farmer of 31 years, is from the Mayan village of San Jose. Albino and his wife Herminia have brought up 11 children, two of which are currently in high school. His wife Herminia stays home to take care of the children while Albino is on the farm.
Apart from cacao, the family also plants corn, rice, cassava and other root veggies for home use. “Cacao farming is good because after three years of planting I started to harvest” says Albino. Besides cacao, his main source of income, Albino also plants peanuts for sale in the local market.
Albino got into cacao farming at the same time of a new market for cacao introduced by the local coop. Albino’s favorite part of cacao farming is harvesting because it is the easiest task concerning cacao and is done under the shade of cacao and timber trees. “The challenging part for me is the cleaning, because it has to be done every three months,” says Albino.
The family is requesting the loan to clean their cacao farm and the surroundings. Cleaning is the process of removing the underbrush to open airflow in the field and so that it could be accessible for harvest. Cacao trees require shade, so they are grown literally in the jungle, making cleaning a necessary ingredient for its cultivation.
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.