Cooperative agroforestry empowers indigenous women in Honduras
The Lenca indigenous group in a dry region of Honduras has practiced agroforestry for millennia, planting timber and fruit trees over food and medicine crops to provide shade that increases soil humidity. Recently a group of women formed a cooperative to market their coffee grown in the shade of these trees as organic and fair trade, and they have enjoyed a sizable price increase. The Lencas’ agroforestry system also provides fruit and timber products that are ready for sale or trade during times of the year when the coffee crop is not ripe. Agroforestry is beneficial to the climate because it sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, and it also benefits biodiversity: the village has observed an increase in populations of animals like opossums, snakes, hares, armadillos, squirrels, birds and coyotes as the agroforestry plantings expand.