Sensenti is a town located in the department of Ocotepeque in western Honduras, an area that produces specialty coffees with different cup profiles, characterized by their exotic fruit flavors and delicate acidity.
Zoyla Maldonado and Yaneth Lemus are two women who, like many others in their locality, have followed family tradition and dedicated themselves to the cultivation of coffee from a very early age. For them, coffee represents a means to generate development and improve the quality of life of the people involved in the value chain of this crop.
“Since we were little girls, coffee has been present in our lives. I remember that I always helped my father and brother with the different activities on the farm, that’s why we love coffee”, says Zoyla.
Zoyla and Yaneth are also mothers and elementary school teachers. Their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for coffee were the basis for them to found the company “Inversiones Zambizambique” and the coffee brand “Azacualpa’s Coffee” in 2019, moving from production to transformation, adding value through a venture that generates additional income for the family.
“Inversiones Zambizambique offers the service of threshing, roasting and grinding coffee. We provide other producers with facilities to process and market their coffee in a better way”, Yaneth Lemus states
“Through this alliance we provide training to coffee producers in western Honduras in sustainable coffee growing practices and link them with the Keurig Dr Pepper chain under an inclusive marketing model that promotes the empowerment of women in the sale of coffee,” said Ryan Bathrick, MOCCA Chief of Party.
In 2021, with the determination to improve the quality of their coffee and connect with new market opportunities, Zoyla and Yaneth joined the MOCCA project, through an alliance with RGC Coffee and Café Ventura, as part of an initiative called “Las Flores del Café”.
RGC Coffee’s sustainability model is based on three principles: prosperity of the coffee family, prosperity, and resilience. Women are the foundation of the family and play a fundamental role in the development of the coffee sector; however, their role is often overlooked or lacks visibility, which is why RGC Coffee promotes the Las Flores del Cafe initiative through which more than 1,500 women are economically and socially empowered in the production chains, both in Honduras and Peru.
“We are growing coffee using better ,environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Our plants are more productive and the harvest gives us more profit, and we have a good control of the money because we also learned to make a budget and plan investments” Yaneth Lemus, Ocotepeque, Honduras
Zoyla and Yaneth’s goal is to export their coffee to international markets and for their brand to be recognized as a benchmark of quality that represents the effort and dedication of all women coffee producers in Honduras. Their short-term plans include opening a coffee shop to promote their coffee brand and generate employment in their community.
“Opening spaces in the local market has been challenging, but with the trainings from MOCCA, RGC Coffee and Café Ventura, we are learning how to improve the quality of the coffee. Our goal is to achieve a high cup score so we can sell it at a better price and reach other local and international buyers.”
Zoyla Maldonado, Ocotepeque, Honduras
MOCCA in Honduras
In Honduras, MOCCA has formed alliances with buyers and other organizations through which it will train more than 8,000 coffee producers (40% women), providing integration into higher value markets, technical assistance, research, access to quality genetic material, and promoting catalytic financing models.
In the official registry of the Honduran Coffee Institute – IHCAFE – more than 120,000 producing families are registered. Today, the economic, political, and social life of many communities in Honduras revolves around coffee production, the backbone of a dynamic sector with potential for further growth in terms of productivity, quality, and prices.
About RGC Coffee
Through this alliance we provide training to coffee producers in western Honduras in sustainable coffee growing practices and link them with the Keurig Dr Pepper chain under an inclusive marketing model that promotes the empowerment of women in the sale of coffee.
About Café Ventura
Café Ventura is a company with more than 30 years of experience in the cultivation, processing, and commercialization of high quality coffee in Western Honduras.