"Coffee makes up a significant share of family income in these communities," says Verena Fischersworring from HRNS. Her colleague Mauro García added, "Improving the returns to coffee farming — especially in combination with improved on-farm food production and household nutrition — thus forms an essential component of any strategy to improve food security."
Since 2008, USAID and Mercy Corps have supported rural, poor and subsistence farmers to compete in the larger commercial markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. In the past, USAID and Mercy Corps have partnered with Wal-Mart and Vibrant Villages as well as other private sector entities, which benefited 1,800 farmers in one of the poorest areas of Central America. Through this alliance, nearly 900 new jobs were created and a strong foundation was built for women to contribute to their households and communities. Of the new jobs created during the program's first three years, 25 percent were held by women. After the first three years, producer groups increased their net earnings by an average of 59 percent and boosted their sales to formal markets by $1.2 million.