Cocoa and chocolate women network of Honduras empowered to grow

03 September 2020

Solidaridad was selected along with seven other organizations for The Power to Grow Innovation Challenge, which formed new strategic alliances between organizations within La Red de Innovación e Impacto (La Red). With the funds obtained from the challenge, Solidaridad continues to build the production and marketing capacities of the Cocoa and Chocolate Women Network of Honduras (REDMUCH).

Yessenia Fuentes from the company Cafel, a cocoa and chocolate smallholder producing through the Mayan Harvest brand in Copán, Honduras.

Multi-actor collaboration to foster growth and prosperity

Through the Power to Grow Innovation Challenge, Solidaridad joined La Red, a group of organizations that support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to foster growth and prosperity in Latin America and The Caribbean. La Red supports this growth through funding but also by linking enterprises with experts and organizations that can provide technical assistance.

In the case of Solidaridad, this facilitated an important partnership with FUNDES that continues capacity building of the Cocoa and Chocolate Women Network of Honduras (REDMUCH). Cocoa smallholder producers from the 12 REDMUCH partner companies participated in workshops and received consulting services in administration, costs, marketing, and more. They have been able to apply the concepts learned to begin positioning their cocoa and chocolate products in national and international markets through commercial alliances.

Fermented cocoa beans and chocolate powder for hot cocoa from women-led brand Chocomers of Cooperativa Serso.

“The FUNDES activity builds marketing capacities within La Red. They have supported us tremendously, and we continue to work with them. Through these alliances, we can facilitate processes and make them more efficient,” said Suyapa Saldivar, programmes official and gender specialist for Solidaridad in the region.

Some key achievements resulting directly from these alliances and collaboration include:

  • The creation of 12 new jobs

  • The design and implementation of nine marketing plans through workshops for the companies and the design of six new packaging concepts

  • Best practices training to staff from nine companies and operations training for new tools to 20 women and three men

  • Obtaining compliance for 40 products and creating 36 new chocolate products

  • Expansion into three types of markets that the companies had not previously permeated

Women-led AMALANCETILLA produces wines and jellies from cocoa and fruit. Here they present their products at the Enterprising Women’s Meet in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Pasos program building capacity for the cocoa and chocolate women network

In addition to the growth achieved through marketing activities, The Sustainable Landscapes Programme (PaSos) created financing opportunities for combined funding and impact investment for inclusive supply chains, including cocoa. Through PaSoS, Solidaridad has built capacities for the Cocoa and Chocolate Women Network of Honduras since 2017 through agroforestry and by incorporating cocoa processing tools into the companies. In parallel, REDMUCH makes visible women’s work within the cocoa value chain, highlighting their contributions to the national economy in Honduras.

Participants of the chocolate course receive a post-harvest and cocoa quality seminar at the FHIA facilities in La Masica, Honduras.

Through agroforestry, Solidaridad has helped improve soil use and build sustainable landscapes in approximately 244 cocoa hectares. This represents around 232,000 cocoa plants and 12,000 timber trees such as mahogany; we have also established rambutan plants in approximately 8.5 hectares and peppercorn in approximately 7 hectares. 

Solidaridad and REDMUCH have jointly built the capacity of 12 women and three men in cocoa and chocolate tasting through PaSoS and The Power to Grow.

Women from the Cocoa and Chocolate Women Network of Honduras receive training in bean selection for a better-quality chocolate.

Innovative solutions for product merchandising

REDMUCH network companies have not been spared the negative effect economic of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting a decrease in cocoa and chocolate product sales. Honduras on the whole expects to see a negative 2.3 percent growth for the economy this year. 

To address this issue, Solidaridad is currently developing proposals to integrate digital commerce solutions. The next stage in execution from The Power to Grow funds to strengthen and build capacities for the Cocoa and Chocolate Women Network will be to generate online sales opportunities for smallholder producers from the REDMUCH.

Key results of the alliances created for REDMUCH through The Power to Grow and La Red.

Read more about our work in Cocoa.

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