Disnel Ramirez has worked with Semilla Coffee importers for the past two years, but his extended family has been working with the importing company since 2019. At this time, only two of the 800 growers in their area were processing their coffee for the specialty market. The others continued to transport their coffee to the city of Comayagua to be sold on the local market.

One of the movements towards specialty coffee in the community came when Jesus Galeas married into the Ramirez family. Galeas was an experienced IHCAFE (Instituto Hondureño del Café) field technician. He saw the potential in the family’s farms and became a motivating force for other farmers in the area to begin processing their coffee for the specialty market. He worked closely with Ramirez to help improve farming practices and post-harvest processing.

Disnel’s father, Clementino Ramirez, was one of the original coffee growers in the area. Clementino’s brother, Antonio, is locally considered to be the father of coffee growing in the region. He was the first to begin cultivating Typica and Bourbon after finding them growing wild on his land in the 1970s.

Now 29, Disnel has been working alongside his father since he was a child and was given his own plot of land when he was 18.

When the Ramirez family began selling specialty, their coffee was not purchased at a differentiated price. There needed to be more than a slight increase in profit to cover the farming costs. Until late last year, much of their coffee was being left behind and sold on the local market.

To help rectify this situation, Semilla has purchased all the coffee produced by the Ramirez family. Semilla plans to continue doing this while working to support new growers in the region to enter the specialty market. Disnel and his mother, Celia, recently purchased more land to increase their production. In 2020, Clementino made a difficult decision to migrate to the United States but is returning this year in hopes of an improved situation.

Disnel shared more about his experience with coffee: “Coffee is very important to us as a family, we’ve had to take on loans in order to continue forward, but now with our coffee selling as specialty we’re able to work better and receive a just price for our coffee. My goal is to continue with this specialty market connection because it gives us the opportunity to achieve our personal dreams like finally being able to have my own house and to keep my areas of the farm in good condition and to support my son in his studies.”

November 15, 2023 — Zara Snitman

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