El Zurzular was Global Brigades Honduras’ first holistic community. Prior to Busines Brigades work in the community, they faced economic challenges similar to most other rural communities in Honduras, lacking access to loans and savings services. El Zurzular is a coffee producing community, where the vast majority of community members rely on the crop for income. There is some farming of corn and beans for sustenance. Due to the lack of a financial system and financial literacy, most producers were at the whim of intermediaries who would purchase the coffee at very poor prices.
Since the establishment of the Community Bank in 2010 all community members now have access to loans and savings. These loans have been particularly helpful for coffee farmers who lost parts of their harvest due to crop disease. Agriculture loans allow community members the capital needed to buy fertilizer and pesticides. Global Brigades has partnered with community leaders to create El Zurzular’s coffee cooperative business. El Zurzular sells their coffee in dry bean form to domestic partners such as Santa Rosa de Copan. El Zurzular has been able to expand their business thanks to their investments such as a delivery truck. One of the biggest challenges faced by El Zurzular was the inability to transport their coffee, making them rely on intermediaries (“coyotes”) who would use their transportation advantage to charge unfair prices. El Zurzular now pays for a delivery service at a low and affordable price. To improve their production practices they have also been able to invest ing drying beds, a wet mill, a manual roaster, washer, hygrometer, and packaging materials.
El Zurzular is a collaborating community in Honduras of Global Brigades’ initiative, Cafe Holistico. Global Brigades is helping coffee growers expand their business, increase coffee quality, and find profitable markets. Communities like El Zurzular now have the opportunities to sell beans to Cafe Holistico. These beans are then roasted and packaged by GB partners. The final project is sold by Global Brigade’s volunteers as a fundraiser.