Ely Isabel López España works on his cocoa farm in Honduras. He began farming in the sixth grade and now helps other farmers decades older than he is. Many have doubled their production.

Young people lead the way toward better incomes, cocoa in Honduras

  • Gary Fields
  • Nov 2, 2018

At just 24 years old, Ely Isabel López España is already accomplishing what has taken his older and more experienced neighbors years — even decades — to achieve. Ely is a young cocoa farmer in Honduras who is earning enough from his crop to feed and support his family. Over the past five years, he’s seen his production double and he has even hired others to help him on his thriving farm.  

Your generosity is reestablishing cocoa as a lucrative cash crop in Honduras and creating opportunity for Ely and other young farmers, who would otherwise struggle to find work and support themselves.  

An uneven playing field for cocoa farmers

“Before … we had no knowledge about pest control and disease management,” Ely says. “We recovered only a small portion of what our plots were capable of.” 

And what did grow brought little money. Like many farmers, he faced a situation where the few buyers who were willing to buy the low quality cocoa took advantage of their monopolies in setting prices. With such few options, Ely took whatever price was offered.  

Better cocoa, the smart way

Ely’s success is a result of specialized training and his own determination. You’ve provided him with high quality seeds that produce purer cocoa beans and training on how to better prepare his soil and efficiently water his fields.  

He also uses Lutheran World Relief’s Mobile Cocoa platform, a smartphone application that provides farmers a comprehensive guide to cocoa planting, cultivation, pruning, and treating plant diseases. Mobile Cocoa is available to anyone with a smartphone, which is increasingly common in countries like Honduras, even in rural areas.  

Taking cocoa farming to the next level

Other farmers — some young and others decades older than he is — are following Ely’s lead. He is now a field school facilitator, which means he teaches his peers how to improve the yield and quality of their own crop so that they can create a promising future in a country where young people have few opportunities and face intense pressure to migrate. 

And Ely has just been elected to the board of the Association of Cacao Producers of Honduras, which advances and oversees 17 member organizations made up of more than two thousand families. 

Thank you! You are helping young people change the entire trajectory of their lives and creating the next generation of cocoa farmers in Latin America.  

Gary Fields, Nov 2, 2018 email