Mercy Corps and Twinings to Improve Cardamom Production in Northern Guatemala

March 24, 2020

Three-year program will strengthen cardamom value chain and create a producers’ association to help families across 80 communities in Alta Verapaz lift themselves out of poverty 

 Cobán, Guatemala., March 24, 2020 The global organization Mercy Corps, in partnership with tea company Twinings, is launching a three-year initiative to increase harvests and incomes for 500 cardamom producers across 80 communities in Alta Verapaz, northern Guatemala. There are 350,000 smallholder cardamom producers in Guatemala’s rural areas, and Alta Verapaz grows 70% of Guatemala’s national cardamom production.

 “More than 80% of people in Alta Verapaz live in poverty and agricultural producers are facing increasingly unpredictable weather patterns connected to climate change,” says Jose Aquino, rural development program manager for Mercy Corps in Guatemala. “This is leading to crop loss, reduced incomes and less food to feed their families. By helping cardamom producers improve their production, we can help them escape the cycles of poverty and hunger they’ve been trapped in and build a healthier and brighter future for their families.” 

 With funding from Twinings, Mercy Corps will strengthen the cardamom value chain, improve market access for producers and establish a producers’ association. The initiative will also create demonstration plots and train farmers to improve quality, drying technologies and pest and disease management. It will also improve nutrition and food security by helping families diversify their diets.

 “We’re delighted to be working with our long-standing partner Mercy Corps on this project,” says Gabriella Wass, Twinings Social Impact Manager. “Through our Sourced with Care program we seek to improve quality of life in the communities we source from. We feel that’s simply the right thing to do, but we also know that empowered, informed and resilient farmers are essential to ensuring strong supply chains. We welcome this opportunity to improve Guatemalan cardamom farmers’ quality of life, and as a result the lives of the communities they live in.”

 The program will be implemented in partnership with the Guatemalan Cardamom Association (CARDEGUA), the Mayan Higher Education Technological Institute (ITMES), the Technical Institute of Natural Resources (ITERN) and other private-sector groups in the cardamom sector.

 Mercy Corps has worked in Guatemala since 2001 to improve security, alleviate poverty and improve health and economic opportunities for vulnerable urban and rural communities.