Women Empowerment in Coffee Production: The Story of Zoyla and Yaneth in Honduras

Discover how two women in Honduras are maximizing opportunities in the coffee industry through their innovative coffee brand and their participation in the MOCCA project. Learn how RGC Coffee and Café Ventura are empowering women in the production chain through the Las Flores del Café initiative.

Zoyla Maldonado and Yaneth Lemus – Women Coffee Producers from Honduras

Two women coffee producers from Honduras

Sensenti, a small town located in western Honduras, produces specialty coffee with 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 this coffee from a very early age. 

“Since we were little girls, coffee has been present in our lives,” says Zoyla. “I remember that I always helped my father and brother with the different activities on the farm. That’s why we love coffee.”

But the crop also represents for them a way to boost the local economy and improve the quality of life for their community.

Inversiones Zambizambique – Adding Value to the Supply Chain

Zoyla is a coffee producer from Honduras

Their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for coffee led them to found the company “Inversiones Zambizambique” and the coffee brand “Azacualpa’s Coffee” in 2019, moving from simply growing coffee to adding value throughout the supply chain in a way that also generates jobs and better incomes.

Inversiones Zambizambique offers the service of threshing, roasting, and grinding coffee,” says Yaneth. “We provide other producers with facilities to process and market their coffee in a better way.” 

Training Coffee Farmers in Climate-Resilient Agronomic Practices 

Yaneth is a coffee producer from Honduras

TechnoServe began working with farmers like Zoyla and Yaneth by training farmers in climate-resilient agronomic practices, facilitating greater access to finance, expanding the availability of high-quality genetic material for planting, and augmenting research. 

In Honduras, TechnoServe has formed alliances with buyers and other organizations so that more than 8,000 coffee producers (40% of them women) are trained in good agricultural and climate-smart practices. TechnoServe also supports breeding research, trains nurseries, and facilitates access to finance for farmers. This provides integration into higher value markets, technical assistance, research, and access to quality genetic material, while promoting catalytic financing models meaning they are related to debt, equity, guarantees, and other investments that accept disproportionate risk and/or concessionary returns relative to a conventional investment so that there is positive impact. Catalytic capital also enables third-party investment that otherwise would not be possible.

Las Flores del Café – An Initiative to Improve Coffee Quality and Connect with New Market Opportunities

Zoyla and Yaneth are coffee producers from Honduras

In 2021, with the determination to improve the quality of their coffee and connect with new market opportunities, Zoyla and Yaneth joined the TechnoServe program. It was part of  an alliance with RGC Coffee and Café Ventura, a company with more than 30 years of experience in the cultivation, processing, and commercialization of high-quality coffee in Western Honduras, as part of an initiative called “Las Flores del Café.”

“We are growing coffee using better environmentally friendly agricultural practices,” says Yaneth. “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.”

Empowering Women Coffee Producers – Breaking Barriers in the Coffee Farming Industry

Two women coffee producers from 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 training from [TechnoServe], RGC Coffee, and Café Ventura, we are learning how to improve the quality of the coffee,” says Zoyla. “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.”

Help Break Barriers for Women in Agriculture

Women like Zoyla and Yaneth are breaking barriers in the coffee farming industry. Working with TechnoServe, they have gained the knowledge and resources to improve the quality and yields of their coffee and cacao plants, resulting in higher incomes and respect from their communities. By supporting programs like this, we can empower more women to become successful coffee growers and contribute to their local economies. Consider making a donation to TechnoServe and help break barriers for women in agriculture.

Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) is a 7-year initiative funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its Food for Progress Program, which seeks to improve agricultural productivity and expand trade in agricultural products. The MOCCA project is being executed by a consortium led by TechnoServe.

In Honduras, the alliance between MOCCA, RGC Coffee and Café Ventura is also funded by Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP). MOCCA, together with KDP, will help more than 2,000 coffee farmers in Lempira and Ocotepeque to improve their productivity through the implementation of improved agricultural practices. The partnership’s activities integrate a gender equality awareness strategy within the community to foster a more inclusive and sustainable coffee market.