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Life beyond coffee

ENTREPRENEUR PROFILE: Doña Julia Rivera learns to diversify in Honduras


Doña Julia lives in a region of Honduras called Marcala, known for its high-quality coffee production. Undernourishment is a widespread problem among coffee farmers in this region. Normally, farmers only earn an income during the four months  of coffee harvesting—leaving farmers eight months each year, known as the “thin months,” to survive on their coffee earnings. 

In recent years, prolonged dry seasons and a disease called “coffee rust,” which killed 80 percent of Doña Julia’s crop, left many coffee farmers struggling to have enough food to eat. 

Julia Rivera

Seeking a way to put food on her family’s table, Doña Julia joined a women’s farm group through her fair-trade coffee cooperative, Cabripel. With training from iDE, the women’s farm group learned to diversify their crops and employ sustainable water management techniques, such as rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation. 

iDE PC Rivera 16x9

Doña Julia’s first harvest produced a plethora of cucumbers for her family and neighbors. After the success of her first harvest, she is now growing beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, and lettuce

Installing drip irrigation on her farm has allowed her to save time, money, and precious water. Through the women’s group, Doña Julia is able to help other farmers increase their food security and survive both the “thin months” and the coffee rust. 

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Pigging out

ENTREPRENEUR PROFILE: Ho Thi Hiu earns a profit raising pigs

A mother of five, Ho Thi Hiu used to supplement her household’s meager income by growing rice. She would also make a small profit by buying piglets in a nearby town, raising them, and selling them fully-grown. But raising pigs is no easy task.


Read more: ENTREPRENEUR PROFILE: How Ho Thi Hiu leveraged a microloan to build a thriving business