HAMBURG, Germany – As a response to the devastating impact of Hurricanes Iota and Eta in Central America last November, International Coffee Partners (ICP) provided 40,000 EUR as an emergency relief fund. The funding is assisting affected families in the Western parts of Guatemala and Honduras. Heavy rains, flash flooding, and landslides led to the destruction of local infrastructure and the displacement of thousands.
Eta and Iota hit ICP project regions, affecting most of the smallholder families ICP currently works with. The relief fund has supported a total of 2,400 smallholder families through:
Copán and Ocotepeque: Honduras
Emergency Food Assistance
Immediately after Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit, ICP provided 1,000 smallholder families in the departments of Copán and Ocotepeque with nonperishable food through close collaboration with the Tri-national Commission of the Trifinio Plan (CTPT), the tri-national body which oversees regional development, USAID, and Goya Foods. Bags containing wheat, beans, sugar, and other grains to feed a family of 5 members for a period of 15 weeks were distributed in the region.
“The extensive wrecking of roads, basic infrastructure, and farmland were among the most serious impacts caused by the hurricanes”, described Pablo Ruiz, Co- Regional Manager of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) in Central America. “This not only cut off access to many communities but also limited smallholder’s ability to reach their farm and farmer organizations.”
With more than 90% of smallholder families reporting damage in their coffee farm, including a high percentage of dropped cherries, defoliation, and landslides washing entire farms away, getting roads restored became a priority.
ICP partnered with the Honduran National Coffee Fund and supported the reconstruction of main access roads and minor streets of 4 farmer organizations. A total of 9.6 kilometers of road were restored, giving more than 380 smallholder families direct access to their farmer organizations.
Distribution of Water Filters
“In Huehuetenango, we were fortunate that the vast majority of families received emergency food assistance thanks to the collaborative work between other organizations and government institutions in the region”, explained Rolando Cab, ICP project coordinator in Guatemala.
“However, recognizing that the transmission of diarrhetic diseases due to improper water management was intensified immediately after the hurricanes hit, we decided to focus on addressing this instead.” Water filters were purchased and distributed to 386 smallholder families to improve their access to safe and affordable drinking water.
Establishment of Family Gardens
Eta and Iota comprised families’ ability to access nutritious foods, supporting an active, healthy life. ICP’s relief fund helped establish 250 family gardens to increase and guarantee sufficient food to meet families’ dietary needs. This was achieved through the growing of nutritional, high-yield, and short-term crops that usually grow between 45 to 60 days such as beans, spinach, lettuce, and chard.
Repairment of Coffee Processing Facilities
Hurricane Iota and Eta’s continuous heavy rains damaged important coffee processing facilities that members depend on for their harvest. ICP began working together with farmer organizations in 5 communities to assist with the reparation of these facilities. To date, 7 coffee drying patios and 2 coffee wastewater treatment areas are being restored.
Improved Water Sanitation
As part of a larger project in collaboration with Healing Waters International (HWI), ICP has provided matching funds to improve the availability of drinking water for 80 smallholder families.
Through the development of intensive infrastructure led by HWI, water supply sanitation in rural, smallholder communities will improve. By the end of the project 400 smallholder families from the community of Cipresales in Huehuetenango, will have access to sufficient, safe, and acceptable water for personal and domestic use.
While some of the activities are still developing, good progress is being made. ICP partners continue to monitor families’ most urgent needs and adapt activities to the obstacles that natural disasters or any other unforeseen event might bring. Together with the local team, ICP will continue to work efficiently, allowing smallholder families to recover from this situation and adapt as best as possible.
About International Coffee Partners (ICP)
International Coffee Partners (ICP) is a pre-competitive initiative of leading European family-owned coffee companies, Delta Cafés of Portugal, Franck of Croatia, Paulig of Finland, Joh. Johannson of Norway, Löfbergs of Sweden, Lavazza of Italy, Neumann Gruppe of Germany and Tchibo of Germany. ICP’s objective is to contribute know-how to establish a sustainable coffee sector in key producing countries through the implementation of best-practice projects in coffee farmer communities. Since 2001, ICP has reached almost 100,000 smallholder families in 13 countries.