The road up to Natividad Benitez’ house is one of my favorite walks! We leave the truck a little down the road, where the road stops being a road and becomes more like a trail, and then we walk the rest. If it is a clear day, we have a good view of the beautiful Lake Yojoa, but more often than not, it is rainy. Last week I did that trip for probably the 5th or 6th time this year. Halfway up, Natividad is meeting us, waving and laughing: It is a surprise visit, and I am curious what he has been up to since our last visit in March this year.
During our last visit, we gathered five of our producing partners to a workshop, where we discussed their farm practices and plans for the future. It was a very pleasant surprise that Beneficio San Vicente, our exporters here, had done an amazing job following up: Every single producer is building a solar drier, or several. Every producer is using fertilizers, and all of them have expansion plans. It isn’t always easy to see that the premiums we pay being invested in the farms, but with these producers we see tangible examples of changes happening because of what we end up paying for the coffee.
Natividad gave me a tour of his farm, talking about what he is planning to do, and what he already did. A humble man, but with many ideas. More plants in the nursery, and pulp spread out between trees are a couple of improvements since last year. Also, he has a plan about building out his farm with another lot with organic farming. “I want to build a farm that can be an example, using the latest recommended practices”, he says. Looking forward to following Natividad and our other partners here the coming few years - a lot of good things about to happen!