Total loan: $6,475
Tzalamtum, , Guatemala / Agriculture
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A loan helped to buy wet cacao from the smallholder farmers of the association.
The Association of Integrated Development “OX EEK” Santa Maria Cahabón (ADIOESMAC), founded in 2004, cultivates and sells cacao, cardamom, cinnamon, and chili peppers. Perched on a mountaintop overlooking the extensive jungled hills of the Cahabón region, the association processes cacao using cascading wooden fermentation boxes and a combination of greenhouse dryers, raised bamboo decks, and drying patios. Pictured here is a typical drying deck for cacao, with an association member raking the beans for uniform drying. This group’s first experience in fine cacao export was in the early 2000’s with Scharffenberger; in recent times, they were the first association in the region to export centrally fermented cacao to U.S. bean-to-bar makers, and have sold exclusively to Dandelion Chocolate through Cacao Verapaz since 2014. Dandelion calls these “potato beans,” due to their large size! The association has continued to plant more cacao every year with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and various NGOs; most of the cacao planted is reforesting areas of “milpa” or corn and bean production, and children of the association members are starting to take over cacao production and processing for their parents, something rare in cacao agriculture these days. The association President, Sebastian, hopes to get a Kiva loan so that the association can pay farmers when farmers deliver cacao to them, rather than delay payment. This is critical for farmers in this area, as they wait all year for their cacao income.