Cardamom is a spice from the ginger family, whose seed has a bitter, sometimes smoky, flavor with hints of lemon and mint. It is the world’s third most expensive spice, after vanilla and saffron. Impact Finance Fund ­finances Cafi­nter, the major organic cardamom exporter in Guatemala.

Created in 1990 by Roberto Morales Smith, this family-run company is now managed by his two sons. After studying in the US, Ricardo and José Morales came back to Guatemala and implemented organic value chains of various spices in collaboration with more than 200 smallholder farmers. They are the country’s leader in the organic spice market niche, exporting 60% of the Guatemalan organic certi­fied cardamom along with other organic spices. As a spice trader, Ca­finter acts as an anchor ­firm in its value chain. The company builds on its tight relations with smallholder farmers and its access to the international market.

Ca­finter eases access to organic certi­fications for smallholder farmers, maximizing their income. Because cardamom is only harvested between November and April, this spice trader has diversifi­ed its production.  It also exports turmeric and pepper, ensuring regular revenue to its suppliers throughout the year.

The last quarter of 2017 should see an increase in the number of disbursements, as we will continue to support the coffee harvest in Central America. We are also in discussion with several potential new investees, including a Honduran coffee trader.

The Ca­finter technical assistance team provides support to the communities, helping them convert their crops to organic and obtain the necessary certi­fications. They are promoting good agricultural practices to preserve the local ecosystems and are preventing soil damage in adjacent communities to reduce the use of non-organic inputs.

Impact Finance has supported Ca­finter since February 2017. They originally needed support for their working capital to buy organic cardamom from smallholder farmers. Their ­first campaign was successful, and we agreed to pursue our collaboration with them for the next campaign. Ca­finter is the perfect example of the kind of trader we work with, combining a strong involvement with farmers and long-lasting relationships with international buyers.