WHY WE ADMIRE SANDRA
I met Sandra during my first visit to COAGRICSAL Co-op in 2016. From my very first tour, she has been a constant, reassuring presence. Her demeanor is gentle, thoughtful and confident – and seemingly unshakable. Despite the immense responsibilities she carries, she always has a smile and a remarkable, can-do attitude.
Especially as we developed our award-winning Harmony Snacking Cacao with COAGRICSAL, Sandra has been a fierce protector of the quality. Her experience in managing incoming wet cacao from the various regions in Honduras, fermenting, drying and tasting is immense. In working with her over the years, it feels to me like she is equal parts mind-reader and magician to create that mild, nutty flavor with hints of tropical fruit including the signature banana note we often find in our Honduras origin.
You also have Sandra and her team to thank for the flawless fermentation that allows each cacao bean to be enjoyed individually. In an industry that typically sets the [already challenging] bar at 80% of cacao beans being well-fermented, this is a remarkable achievement.
So, grab a bag of our Harmony 80% - there flavor where it’s easiest to appreciate Sandra’s beautiful handiwork - and enjoy while learning more from Sandra herself (translated from Spanish)… And, if you want to hear more from Sandra you can view her 1-minute videos on Quality Control and our Social Purpose.
ABOUT SANDRA BUESO
My Motivation – My Family
I live in Honduras in a community called El Triunfo Protección Santa Barbara. My family is made up of my husband and three boys 13, 4 and 1 years old. They are my motivation to fight and keep going every day.
I come from a fairly large family made up of my parents, 4 boys and 2 girls. We are a low-income family but we have strong morals, thanks to the education at home instilled by our parents.
My father and one other person supported me and made my current work possible.
COAGRICSAL Gave Me the Opportunity
I began working out of necessity - I saw myself facing life alone as a single mother and COAGRICSAL gave me the opportunity to work with them. Once working, I liked it a lot and I was interested every day to learn more about the crop and its process until it reaches the finished product.
From Plant Nurseries to Quality Control
I have been working with cocoa for 12 years, starting from the preparation of the soil to plant nurseries, grafting, maintenance of plants in nurseries, fermentation and quality control.
My current position in the company is Quality Control. My responsibilities are monitoring each process from receiving the wet cocoa in good conditions, fermentation, drying and sampling. And tasting and evaluating each sample to see the final result, among other things...
My Proudest Accomplishment
That I graduated secondary (high school) in 2013, since it took me a lot of effort. That has been my best achievement. I graduated as a computer technician and in Science and Letters. I worked and studied... My work was very difficult in those days... I learned a lesson on my left arm - I injured it with a fumigation pump. It was very hard for me.
I also took training in cocoa tasting. And thanks to that now I have a better job.
AS A WOMAN IN CACAO
What are the Benefits? [With some humor...] Well, I think the only thing is avoiding lifting heavy things.
What are the Challenges? Facing the machismo culture of Honduran men.
Being a woman in society affects us the same. This issue is being fought in our country. Much work is being done with gender equality.
Listen to Our Suggestions
What could be done to make your work better or easier? Train the staff (men) and listen to the suggestions that a woman can give.
Find ways to incentivize, encourage and reward the staff more for working on gender equality - and this applies to both women and men.
What is your Hope for Women in Cacao in 30 Years… Fewer Limitations
I think I would like to see more empowered women, women entrepreneurs and that our government supports this, because sometimes the desire exists, but there are many limitations.
I would like to see women entrepreneurs who create employment. A way to work would be that the government stops putting so many obstacles and facilitates loans at a low interest.
Dreams for the Future
I want to have my own business and maybe be a private consultant.