Meet Angel the leader of El Cedro
Angel and his wife Irma Yatz Xol live in the village of El Cedro, nestled in the mountains above Livingston on Guatemala’s Caribbean Coast. Of the Q’echi indigenous group, their grandparents arrived in the 60’s and 70’s to escape conflict in the highlands, where they have lived as subsistence farmers primarily from slash and burn corn.
Upon learning of the international value of cacao back in 2017, Irma took the initiative to fill nursery bags and buy seed for their first 800 cacao plants with the help of their five children, led by their eldest son Jayron. With the change in land use from slash-and-burn to cacao agroforestry, the Yatz Xol family notes an increase in their income, as well as a reforested landscape, as the cacao is intercropped with native timber species such as caoba (mahogany), laurel and El Cedro, for which his village is named.
El Cedro Impact
About El-Cedro Farm
Angel’s farm has over 700 cacao trees and 360 baby trees in nursery at the moment. It is tended by Angel, Irma and their kids: family owned. As harvests can be small and a market has opened with Cacao Source, the neighbors of Angel got inspired and started planting cacao trees on their land as well suing organic & agroforestry methods.
Angel and Irma found their market with Cacao Source through Sean Dixon-Sullivan, founder of Contour Lines, a nonprofit that plants agroforestry projects now with over 110 communities around Guatemala. Sean first went to El Cedro in 2019 to train Angel in pruning of his young cacao plantation, and shortly after began planting projects with more members of his villages, now totaling 19 families planting 7,500 legume trees and 1856 fruit trees. Inspired by Angel and Irma’s success with cacao, the majority of those fruit trees selected by those 19 families are cacao as well. And thanks to Cacao Source finding markets to these farmers, more and more families are eager to join Contour Lines projects, transitioning their lands out of slash and burn and into agroforestry systems that both restore land, and empower local families like Angel and