International Coffee Partners (ICP) provided support to 2,400 smallholder families they are working with after the destructive impact of Hurricanes Iota and Eta. The natural disasters that struck Central America last November caused flash floods, landslides and heavy rains, resulting in local infrastructure being destroyed. 

ICP, a group of eight family-owned coffee companies that follow a pre-competitive shared purpose, supplied €40,000 of emergency relief funds to assist the families who were affected in the Western parts of Guatemala and Honduras. The relief fund included providing emergency food assistance, road restoration, water filter distribution, the establishment of family gardens, repairment of coffee processing facilities and improvement in water sanitation. These are divided between the affected regions. 

In Copán and Ocotepeque in Honduras, families received emergency food assistance and road restoration. Right after the earthquakes’ impact, ICP supplied 1,000 smallholder families with non-perishable food that includes wheat, beans, sugar and other grains, in quantities that can last up to 15 weeks for families of 5. ICP collaborated with the Tri-national Commission of the Trifinio Plan (CTPT), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Goya Foods for this aid. 

In addition, as roads, basic infrastructure and farmland were severely wrecked by the hurricanes, access was cut off for the smallholder families and limited their reach to their farms and farmer organisations. Restoring roads is essential for these smallholder families to tend to the damages their coffee farms suffered, including dropped cherries and defoliation. ICP partnered with Honduran National Coffee Fund to restore the main access roads as well as minor streets of a total of 9.6 kilometres of road. This allows over 380 smallholder families to access 4 farmer organisations.

In Huehuetenango in Guatemala, other types of aid were provided. Emergency food assistance was already taken care of by other organisations and government institutions, but the ongoing situation of improper water management, which causes transmission of diarrhetic diseases, became worse after the hurricanes hit. ICP provided 386 smallholder families with water filters so that they can have access to safe drinking water. 

ICP is also in collaboration with Healing Waters International (HWI), working on a project which involves HWI developing the infrastructure of water supply sanitation in rural communities. This collaborative initiative has provided funds to improve the safety and availability of drinking water for 80 smallholder families and aims to reach 400 smallholder families by the end of the project. 

On top of that, ICP established 250 family gardens so that they are able to access nutritious foods, which was hindered by the hurricanes’ damages. The gardens include short-term, high-yield and nutritional crops like beans, spinach, lettuce and chard, which usually take 45 to 60 days to grow.

ICP also worked together with farmer organisations to restore coffee processing facilities in 5 communities. At the moment, 7 coffee drying patios and 2 coffee wastewater are being repaired. 

Natural disasters are unpredictable, and smallholder families in developing countries struggle more than others when they are affected by them. In carrying out this action, ICP has set an example for others to follow.

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