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As a mission-driven enterprise, MMC uses various tools and standards to benchmark, monitor, evaluate, and communicate its impact. Since the second full year of operations, MMC has been publishing an Annual Impact Report to communicate progress and track key impact metrics that speak to our triple social, environmental and product missions, and in 2013 is in the process of getting certified with the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS).

Grow prosperous farming communities by providing meaningful market access.

MMC’s main value proposition to its smallholder farmers is an innovative sourcing model that involves buying fresh cacao at the farm gate with immediate and fair compensation. Buying wet rather than fermented and dried cacao has shifted the risk of improper fermenting and drying from the farmer to us, the buyer. For many rural indigenous Mayans, cacao is not only the sole source of income, but also carries vast cultural and historical meanings since the Maya were the first to domesticate cacao for commercial and cultural purposes. Besides market access and stable prices above the Fair Trade price floor, MMC provides its farmers with an array of technical assistance services aimed at improving yields, as well as pre-harvest financing through a partnership with Kiva in late 2012. Moreover, MMC’s price standards have pushed competitors to raise their price floors, benefiting the entire cacao farming community in the region. Increased income for farmers translates into the possibility of sending more of their numerous children to school, home improvement and further investment in their farms.

Promote reforestation and promote organic, sustainable agroforestry.

Cacao is particularly important as a driver of economic development because it grows organically and under shade cover in diversified “agroforestry” systems that replicate the ecosystem services of natural forests. By maintaining forest cover, agroforestry systems provide habitat, protect water quality, conserve soil fertility, store carbon, and even generate rainfall.
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MMC field officer Emeterio Sho explaining Kiva loan process to prospective lenders.
Belize’s agricultural exports consist primarily of citrus, sugar, and bananas, all of which are grown using chemical-intensive conventional practices. Cacao represents a unique opportunity for Belize to use its heirloom and premium-quality genetic material to produce an organic cash crop, tapping into existing high-value markets. Besides promoting cacao farming as an alternative to slash-and-burn or chemical-intensive crop cultivation by providing stable and meaningful market access, MMC in the 2012 season planted 50,000 cacao trees through a centralized nursery set up in collaboration with Ya’axche’ Conservation Trust and individualized nurseries on smallholder farms.

Profitably produce an increasing volume of the highest quality, organically farmed cacao.

Given the growth of the international specialty chocolate market, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, combined with the unique varietals and attractive cacao quality characteristics of Belize, a focus on boosting production volumes and farmer incomes in the cacao industry holds immense potential to leverage meaningful gains in improving livelihoods of farming families across the region.The number of certified organic farmers in our network has been growing on average by over 50% year-over-year since our inception in 2010, and now comprises 203 certified farmers, managing 538.5 acres of organically-grown cacao agroforestry. Cacao production volumes processed and sold by MMC have grown from 5 MT in the 2011 harvest to 20 MT in 2012 (a 300% increase year-over-year) to an estimated 30 MT in 2013.