ICP supports 2400 coffee producers affected by hurricanes, Central America

International Coffee Partners

International Coffee Partners (ICP) has provided more than US$47,289 in emergency funding to smallholder coffee families that were impacted by Hurricanes Iota and Eta in Central America during November 2020.

This funding has helped many families in the Western region of Central America, including in Guatemala and Honduras, where many ICP projects are located.

The hurricanes saw flash flooding, heavy rains, and mud landslides that destroyed local infrastructure leaving thousands of people without homes.

In Copán and Ocotepeque, Honduras, ICP provided emergency food assistance to 1000 coffee producing families. This was done in collaboration with the Tri-national Commission of the Trifinio Plan (CTPT), United States Agency for International Development, and Goya Foods. Together, this tri-national body overseas regional development.

Food bags were distributed across the region containing non-perishables foods and enough wheat, beans, sugar, and grains to feed a family of five for 15 weeks.

Funds also went towards road and infrastructure restoration with more than 90 per cent of coffee producers reporting damage to their farms from dropped cherries and defoliation to landslides that wiped away entire farms.

Pablo Ruiz, Co- Regional Manager of Hanns R Neumann Stiftung in Central America says, “The extensive wrecking of roads, basic infrastructure, and farmland were among the most serious impacts caused by the hurricanes. This not only cut off access to many communities but also limited smallholder’s ability to reach their farm and farmer organisations.”

ICP also partnered with the Honduran National Coffee Fund to support rebuilding of main roads and minor streets used by four farmer organisations. A total of 9.6 kilometres of road were restored, providing more than 380 coffee families access to their farmer organisations.

In Huehuetenango, Guatemala, ICP distributed water filters to deal with diarrhetic disease transmission that was caused by poor water management.

Rolando Cab, ICP Project Coordinator in Guatemala says this issue was intensified after the hurricanes hit, pushing ICP to focus on this issue first. Water filters were given to 386 coffee families to improve access to safe drinking water.

In a larger project, ICP has also partnered with Healing Waters International (HWI) to provide funds to increase the availability of drinking water for 80 coffee producing families. HWI will develop infrastructure to increase water supply sanitation in rural, smallholder communities. It is predicted at the end of this project, over 400 coffee farmer families in the community of Cipresales in Huehuetenango will have access to safe water for personal and domestic use.

The hurricanes threatened community access to nutritious foods that are needed to support an active, healthy lifestyle. ICP helped establish 250 family gardens to ensure these dietary needs were met, growing high-yield, short term crops such as lettuce, spinach, chard, and beans that were able to grow between 46 to 60 days.

Coffee processing facilities that were damaged by the hurricanes were also repaired in collaboration between ICP and Guatemala’s farmer organisations from five communities. Currently, seven coffee drying patios and two coffee wastewater treatment areas are being restored.

“In Huehuetenango, we were fortunate that the vast majority of families received emergency food assistance thanks to the collaborative work between other organisations and government institutions in the region,” says Cab.

ICP will continue to monitor these smallholder coffee farmers and their needs to help recovery and adaption during the hurricanes’ aftermath.

ICP is an initiative made of European owned coffee companies that seek to implement sustainable practices in the coffee sector and throughout key coffee producing countries. Since 2001, ICP has positively impact nearly 100,000 smallholder coffee producing families across 13 countries.

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