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Catracha Coffee Launching Quality Improvement Program in Santa Elena, Honduras

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Mayra Orellana-Powell of Caratcha Coffee Company

Catracha Coffee, the 3-year-old green coffee buying and profit-sharing company founded by Honduran-American Mayra Orellana-Powell, is launching the Catracha Quality Project. The quality-focused initiative is designed to build on Catracha’s existing smallholder relationships in Santa Elena, Honduras, collecting data and sharing insight among farmers to increase quality through processing.

“There are more than 400 small coffee producers in Santa Elena and our dream is for each of them to be involved in a shared capacity to produce great coffee,” says Orellana-Powell, who launched the business in 2011 to build market opportunities for the smallholders in the town in which she grew up. Also a representative of importer Royal Coffee, Orellana-Powell and a host of Santa Elena farmers were the subjects in the 2013 documentary, “The Way Back to Yarasquin.”

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A screening of “The Way Back to Yarasquin” in Santa Elena

(related: Vega Coffee Piloting New-School Trade Model with Old-World Elements)

The Catracha Quality Projected is expected to launch with three farmers during an initial phase in November, for the 2014-15 harvest season. “Many farmers have their particular way of doing things, and our goal is to capture the uniqueness from farm to farm so we can learn from each other and get even better,” Orellana-Powell says.

Catracha and its partner farmers will map the post-harvest process, collecting data on receiving, pulping, fermenting, drying, and storage — all with the goal of information-sharing and providing practical solutions for quality improvements among other farmers in the region.

(related: World Coffee Research Director Tim Schilling Tells Us All About the Variety Intelligence Project)

Last July, Catracha returned some $30,000 through its profit-sharing model to local farmers, contributing to individual family earnings, women’s development programs, medical aid and agricultural infrastructure. The group is hoping to raise money to support the quality initiative here.

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A medical brigade in Santa Elena sponsored by Catracha

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