Agros International strives to reach rural families in Central America with critical resources and training that helps them to work their way out of desperate poverty. A Seattle-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Agros serves the rural poor of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico by providing access to agricultural land, water, primary education, and training in how to grow crops. Coffee is a staple cash crop for most of Agros’ communities. Our model focuses on three critical areas: market-led agriculture, health and well-being, and financial empowerment. Through this holistic, integrated model, Agros families and communities are equipped to become successful farmers; gain crucial knowledge about personal, familial, and community health; and receive training in how to manage their financial resources.
Agricultural land is at the center of the Agros model, and wherever possible Agros helps farmers to establish partnerships that better enable them to market and sell their crops. For instance, at Brisas del Volcan in Honduras, farmers work with a coffee cooperative that helps them to process their raw coffee and also provides a means by which to sell it. Working with this existing cooperative helps ensure that farmers are getting the best price for their crops. In other communities such as Nueva Esperanza in Nicaragua, Agros is working with their farmers on the legal and organizational steps to set up their own coffee cooperative. In Bella Vista, Honduras, income from successful coffee crops once allowed a couple of Agros families to pay off their land loan and become title holders in under three years.
Coffee is a cornerstone cash crop for many Agros families, and in many communities it is the first crop for income production that is planted once they are established. As they wait for their coffee plants to reach productive maturity (about 3 years), they receive agricultural training and inputs for other horticultural crops, such as peppers, pasion fruit or peas. This then enables them to earn an income and add healthy food to their diets. Diversification is critical to long-term agricultural success in the very rugged, remote areas where Agros works. It helps families to mitigate the risks associated with farming, such as natural disaster, crop disease, and other unexpected calamities.
Who Benefits from this project?
Agros works in 42 villages where farmers depend on coffee and other crops to make a living and support their families. Agros exists to restore hope and opportunity to economically marginalized people in Central America—people like Carlos and Marina.
When the Agros staff first met Carlos and Marina, they were living in the slums of San Pedro Sula, Honduras—one of the most dangerous cities in the world. They lived in a run-down shack on the edge of the highway. On one side of their house cars screamed by, while on the other a polluted river flowed past. Marina lived in constant fear that her youngest daughter Lizi, whom at the time was two years old, would either be hit by a car or drown in the contaminated water. They had a dream to buy land in a safe place. However, when they did so, they learned that their investment had been stolen as part of a scam. They lost all hope for their future.
When they learned about Agros, everything changed. They moved to Agros’ Bella Vista community, where coffee is a staple crop. This year, Marina, Carlos, and their three children harvested their first crop. Agros is working to reach more people in Central America with the life-changing resources of land, credit, and training that will enable them to build strong futures for their families. As we complete our capacity development exercise, we will ramp up to a regional model, starting in Honduras, that will allow us to assist communities on a much broader scale.
How Can I Help?
Agros International’s work is made possible through donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations who support our mission to end poverty. We welcome anyone interested to visit our website, www.agros.org, to make a gift that will help families gain the resources they need.
Our Alternative Gift Catalog has great ideas for smaller gifts that you can give in the name of a friend or loved one: oneseed.agros.org.
We invite individuals and corporations to sponsor a table at our annual fundraising event, Tierras de Vida (Lands of Life). Bring your friends and colleagues to learn more about what we do and how you can be involved. This year’s event will be held on October 19, 2013, in Seattle, WA. Learn how you can help by going here: agros.org/tdv.
Education is a critical part of our work as well. We invite you to learn more about the work Agros does in Central America and tell your friends about the importance of agriculture to poverty alleviation. To get started, watch this video to learn more about Carlos and Marina’s story: vimeo.com/51298816.
Contact Name: Anne Baunach
Location: Seattle, WA, based; Central America Focused
Email Address: AnneB@Agros.org
Phone Number: 206.528.1066