Isidoro, age 58, lives in the village of San Jose, where he has been farming cacao for over 30 years. San Jose, a village with almost the entire population of cacao farmers, rests in the foothills of the Maya mountains. Isidoro and his wife Modesta have raised eight children, with the youngest still in school. The family owns six acres of cacao planted by Isidoro 30 years back. Besides cacao the family also grows corn and rice for home use.
Isidoro got into cacao because it is a permanent crop that doesn’t require replanting every year. “My favorite part of cacao is the harvesting because I know that I am going to collect some money very soon” says Isidoro. The challenging part of cacao for him is the birds, as they damage ripe pods and create production loss.
The family is requesting this loan to hire help clean their cacao farm. Cleaning is the removal of the overgrown bush in the cacao farm and its surroundings to make it accessible for pruning and harvesting. Part of the loan will also be used for hiring people from the village to help with harvesting. Mature cacao trees need to be harvested every one to two weeks during peak cacao season, the months January to May. The task at hand will require the equivalent of 25 workdays for cleaning and two workdays every two weeks for harvesting.
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.