Building a sustainable farm and preserving natural forests in Guatemala
Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
About the project:
In verdant Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, Finca Chimelb is a lush 4,700-hectare farm. Over 250 hectares of cocoa cultivation are combined with specialty coffee, rubber, eucalyptus, and pine production to make a vibrant and economically healthy farm. What sets Chimelb apart from other farms is its dedication to conserving the surrounding natural forest: 2,300 hectares have been protected so far.
Funded by Initiative 20x20 financial partner 12Tree, Chimelb also creates sustainable, well-paying jobs in this rural agricultural community. The 400 permanent workers and 2,000 temporary workers employed during the coffee harvest earn wages 40% above Guatemala’s minimum wage and benefit from a social security program that contributes to their long-term financial security. Finca Chimelb also has an exceptionally diverse nursery to test new cocoa varieties and new clones, monitor tree productivity and compatibility, and wield this data to increase yields. The ongoing research at Chimelb has enabled the farm to adopt environmentally friendly cultivation techniques, like planting rubber trees to control soil erosion and reproducing micro-organisms to naturally restore less fertile areas.
As part of the “One by One” program, Chimelb has hosted multiple trainings for local smallholder farmers in collaboration with Cacao Verapaz, which helps connect farmers with the international cocoa market. Chimelb takes its social responsibility seriously by contributing to the vibrancy of the Guatemalan cacao industry by training and employing local people and by funding and establishing research best practices.