The Honduran President Porfirio Lobo himself came to attend the ceremony in order to present the prize of best exporting business to the women of CREPAIMASUL. Their president, Maria Cristina Palma, was surprised and thankful for the recognition they received for their business that processes cashew nuts and exports them to the US.
CREPAIMASUL is a farming co-operative with 72 small producers. From the start they specialised in processing and selling cashew nuts. The last years Vredeseilanden have supported the business to improve the processing of their cashew nuts, to buy a new processing machine, and to draw up a business plan. The prize the organisation obtained is a reward for the progress the enterprise has made in recent years. During the oncoming years Vredeseilanden will further support them to in-crease the yield on the fields, to obtain better access to credits, to increase the volume of processed cashew nuts in order to be able to meet increased market demand.
One of the members of CREPAIMASUL talks about his organisation…
"I am Asciclo Tercero Najar, born in Chocluteca on 17 Novemer 1929. My father was a wage la-bourer and worked with a German family who exported butter to Germany. My mother was a housewife. Farming and cattle breeding were – and still are – the main sources of income in our ar-ea. "
"I started working in the cashew nut sector in 1972, together with my wife Teresa Calixta. In the be-ginning there were 18 farmers of us. We wanted to co-operate to sell cashew nuts. In 2007 we founded the co-operative CREPAIMASUL and today there are 72 members. In total we grow 184.5 hectares of organically certified cashew nuts, with a yearly production of 207,000 kgs. The organic label means a higher income, because we get a better price for our product. We own a processing plant and we sell our products in the organic market in the US. "
"Changes in our families have come with the years: as more cashew nuts are sold, we earn a little more income to buy basic food, there are more and more people involved in the processing and we have acquired more know-how. Also the price of cashew nuts is better now. I remember that we sold individually to intermediaries at 0.63 $ per sack, and now, with our co-operative, at 21.58 $."
"The profit of the business is distributed among the members, according to the percentage every one harvests. I hope we will soon make enough profit to pay the medical expenses of our workers. And actually in the future we are prepared to share our profits with producers who are not members of CREPAIMASUL, but who supply to us. That would create a bond between the farmers and the business that processes their product."
"How to compare the CREPAIMASUL of today with that in the past? It’s different, it’s better. We are better organised now, we know better how to process our product, we have received small cred-its, we have better machinery, we have obtained better knowledge of the market. Vredeseilanden also played a role in this. They helped us to analyse our work and the market. We received training to make our business more professional, we were able to buy better machines to steam the cashew nuts, we were able to visit other businesses, etc."
"But we must remain critical of ourselves, and co-ordinate still better, do more planning, improve the administration. Then we will be jubilant. We know it’s a long-term project, but we take step by step."