Santa Bárbara in the northwest of Honduras is the country’s oldest coffee-growing region. It is also very poor. Most of the coffee here is grown on family farms that typically have only small areas in cultivation.
Furthermore, the growers often lack extensive ecological and business knowledge. Together with the fact that many of the coffee plants are over-age, it is scarcely to be wondered at that harvests are often poor.
While the climate in the Santa Bárbara area is very good for Arabica coffee, steep slopes and growing areas deep in the rainforest make cultivation, harvesting and transportation difficult. For all these reasons, harvests in the region are far below the national average. This leads to low sales revenue, which makes it very difficult for growers to improve their living and education conditions. What’s more, the harvested beans are often not processed properly for sale, meaning that they don’t get top prices at market.
In order to help the coffee growers in the small town of San Nicolas in Santa Bárbara to improve their situation, we teamed up with Olam to found the long-term H.E.L.P. aid project. Olam is a raw materials supplier with an established infrastructure in Honduras. Thanks to the close cooperation with them, we were able to get H.E.L.P. up and running very quickly. With the great need for assistance and the lack of funding in the Santa Bárbara region, it took only a short time to interest a large number of coffee farmers in signing up as participants. This underlines the difficult situation many of these small farmers are in, and the importance of helping people help themselves.