Media Release

International Coffee Partners (ICP) Provides Emergency Relief Fund for Smallholder Families After Hurricanes Eta and Iota

As a response to the devastating effects of Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Honduras and Guatemala, International Coffee Partners (ICP) makes an emergency relief fund available. It will support 400 smallholder coffee farmer families with direct food access and restoring damaged infrastructure. In total, 40,000 Euro will be available. Just two weeks after Hurricane Eta brought flash flooding and forced thousands out of their homes, Central America was ripped by Hurricane Iota, leaving within its wake, a devastating path of destruction. The fallout of these climate disasters hit ICP-project areas.

Because this emergency situation required an immediate direct response, ICP shareholders Delta Cafés, Franck, Joh. Johannson, Lavazza, Löfbergs, Neumann Gruppe, Paulig and Tchibo decided to make available an emergency fund to support affected families and to work with communities to rebuild crucial infrastructure. “At ICP, we closely followed the news about the destruction, Hurricanes Eta and Iota have caused. Our thoughts are with the affected people and especially with the smallholder coffee farming families from our projects”, says ICP-Chairperson Kathrine Löfberg. “We hope that our emergency relief fund will support them and their pathway back out of this situation.”

Like Maria Sarmiento and her husband Carlos Fuentes, who were getting ready to start picking season right before Hurricane Eta landed on the shores of Copán, Honduras and made 10% of their cherries fall. Weeks later, Hurricane Iota hit, bringing new landslides that further destroyed their crops. “I’m worried about my family” says Sarmiento. “We barely have food and the little income we were about to receive from this year’s harvest no longer exists”. Luckily, no one from the family was injured.

Coffee cherries falling due to strong winds and rain caused by Hurricane Eta and Iota.

Hurricane Iota brought stronger winds and torrential rains that led to deadly mudslides and additional destruction across the region. The wrecking of local infrastructure, including damaged roads and washed-out bridges, has slowed rescue efforts.

While smallholder families across Guatemala and Honduras were still struggling with impacts on household earnings and food security due to COVID-19, Eta and Iota made everything break further apart.  A recent survey made by our implementing partner, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), showed that Hurricane Eta will additionally affect the already precarious food security circumstances and household infrastructure for families in rural communities.  Over 58% of smallholders in Guatemala and Honduras reported that Eta will directly impact their access to food. Results and impacts will most likely get worse after Hurricane Iota.

With support from the ICP relief fund, severely affected families in the regions of Huehuetenango in Guatemala and Ocotepeque and Copán in Honduras will be given access to nonperishable food and carry out a participatory diagnostic together with farmer organizations to assess the possibility of creating a fund for future emergencies. “All activities will be done in coordination with local authorities from each country. In addition, families will receive support in improving and rebuilding their affected household construction and coffee processing structures”, says Pablo Ruiz, Co-Country Manager of HRNS in Central America.

Support will be given to families like the Rivera’s, who’ve not only lost over 12% of their family’s coffee harvest but are living in a temporary shelter due to massive house destruction.

Rivera Family’s coffee farm and household after Hurricane Eta and Iota

While the damage done by Iota is still under close evaluation, ICP partners are monitoring the situation and follow families’ most urgent needs while more information is made available in the upcoming days.

Pictures from Press Release available for Download.

About ICP:

International Coffee Partners (ICP) is a pre-competitive initiative of the leading European family-owned coffee companies, Delta Cafés of Portugal, Franck of Croatia, Paulig of Finland, Joh. Johannson of Norway, Löfbergs of Sweden, Lavazza of Italy, Neumann Gruppe of Germany and Tchibo of Germany. ICP’s objective is to contribute know-how to establish a sustainable coffee sector in key producing countries through the implementation of best-practice projects in coffee farmer communities. Since 2001, ICP has reached nearly 100,000 smallholder families in 13 countries.

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Media Contact:

Jesko Johannsen

ICP Communications


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