Nicaraguan coffee and cocoa farming families improved income and productivity

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More than 6,000 small Nicaraguan coffee and cacao producers and their families increased their incomes and improved their food security and living conditions with the support provided during seven years by the Project Access to Sustainable Markets and Food Security for Coffee and Cacao Producers in Nicaragua (PROMESSA-CAFCA) executed from 2013 to February 2021 by SNV in consortium.

The Project had an investment of more than 10M euros provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (RVO) and the project executors. It supported the areas of market access, improvement of business management in organizations, technological innovation, productive diversification, and food security for small coffee and cocoa producers in the departments of Madriz, Nueva Segovia, Matagalpa, Jinotega and the Northern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCN).

Very good harvest

Emerita Calero, a member of the Caja Rural de Waslala cooperative, reports that she has achieved "very good" harvest thanks to the support of the project and the cooperative with the establishment of gardens, technical assistance, training and the cultivation of a better variety of coffee, more resistant to rust and resilient to climate change, such as Marseille, which she established in agroforestry systems.

Emerita added that in cocoa she has had an excellent harvest of 10 quintals. He says that he has gone from working with traditional cocoa to working with 0.7 hectare of graft cocoa, which comes from the clonal garden that the cooperative established with project support, which has improved productivity, quality and has already taken out rods (vegetative material required to expand the crop). Before, with the traditional cacao it produced 5 quintals.

The producer carries out post-harvest management and adds value to its coffee and cacao production in the wet coffee mill and cacao collection center that the Caja Rural Waslala Cooperative now has thanks to the support of the PROMESSA-CAFCA Project.

In the technical assistance and technological innovation actions alone, the project invested 3.5M euros in productive infrastructure that included promotion of Agroforestry Systems (SAF), post-harvest infrastructure, wet mills, cleaner production, orchards, UTZ pilots and coffee and cocoa nurseries.

Ivania Zamora, president of the Caja Rural de Waslala cooperative, points out that before working with the project the cooperative was only a savings and loan cooperative. Now she says "we are developing capacities, we have a wet coffee mill, a cocoa collection center, orchards, a clonal cocoa garden, we are adding value to production and we are gaining access to markets.

Impacts on coffee

The technical assistance, training in good agricultural practices, business management, food security and business management, accompanied by investment in improving productive infrastructure provided by the project in the coffee sector allowed for an increase in productivity of up to 55%.  The producers went from a production of 10.91 to 15 quintals per block at the end of the project.

Also, in coffee we achieved a 21.76% increase in sales and 73% increase in income, thanks to the support in the participation in national and international fairs and the generation of commercialization instruments such as the mapping of coffee and cocoa flavors, which allowed us to improve market access and the construction of more stable and long term commercial relationships.

Impact on cocoa

Silverio Arauz, president of the La Campesina cocoa cooperative, emphasized that the support received from the project during the seven years allowed them to strengthen the cooperative, renew the cocoa farms, guarantee quality, have infrastructure to add value to the cocoa and ensure marketing with organic certification, which allowed them greater access and diversification of markets

Among the project's impacts on cocoa are a 96% increase in productivity, a 98% increase in sales, and a 198% increase in income.

Ensuring SAN Food Safety

In addition, the project contributed to the food security of cocoa and coffee families, promoted diversified food production through the establishment of 500 bio-intensive family gardens with at least six types of vegetables, crop diversification and family nutrition education in field schools and training allowed families to improve access to food.

The project was executed since 2013 by SNV in alliance with Exportadora Atlantic (EXPASA) - ECOM Group, the Foundation for the Technological Development of Agriculture and Forestry of Nicaragua (FUNICA), the Escuela Agricola Panamericana El Zamorano, the UTZ Certified Foundation, organizations/cooperatives such as: Caja Rural, La Esmeralda, La Campesina, COOMCAFE, PROCAFE, APAC, Fundación Aldea and Flor de Pancasan.

The project coordinator, Douglas Benavidez, highlighted that the project combined the expertise of all partners, promoting a joint and complementary intervention to generate greater impact and poverty reduction, through the implementation of a model that linked the organizations of small producers, with companies anchored in a dynamic of Inclusive Business as "business initiatives that without losing sight of the ultimate goal of generating profits, contributes to poverty reduction and food insecurity through the incorporation of low-income citizens to their value chain in a win-win relationship.