March 17, 2020, Nicaragua Thanks to an investment of US$1,804,047 (C$63,141,674) by the project “Access to Sustainable Markets and Food Security for Coffee and Cacao Producers of Nicaragua (PROMESSA-CAFCA-SNV)” and nine other organisations, the productive infrastructure of small coffee and cacao farmers in Nicaragua was improved. As a result, product traceability was ensured, higher quality was achieved while staying environmentally and socially friendly, and higher value added was created for the commercialisation process.
Over 150 coffee and cacao wet mills, cleaner production and post-harvesting cacao management infrastructure, and collection centers for both crops were built and/or restored. Also, coffee and cacao plantations were established and restored using agroforestry systems, thus benefiting over 6,000 farmers in northern Nicaragua. This was achieved thanks to the technical and financial support from project PROMESSA-CAFCA-SNV and partner cooperatives and organisations. The organisations and cooperatives include La Esmeralda, Pueblos en Acción Comunitaria (APAC), Aldea Global, Rural Fund of Waslala, Multifunctional Cooperative of Coffee Exporters and Producers of San Juan de Río Coco (PROCAFE, in Spanish), La Campesina, Montane Coffee Multisectoral Cooperative (COOMCAFE, in Spanish), Flor de Pancasan, and the company EXPASA.
According to Mr. Douglas Benavidez, PROMESSA-CAFCA-SNV Project Coordinator, these actions are very important, as they helped improve access to new markets by improving the productivity, sales, and income of coffee and cacao smallholders. Besides the actions promoted by the project, smallholders were matched with anchor companies under an inclusive business model. Also, “actions were promoted to improve the resilience of farmers and their livelihoods to climate change, as the project promotes practices and technologies with a sustainability approach at the social, environmental, and financial level,” he added.
Actions for coffee
“With project PROMESSA-CAFCA-SNV’s support, we have built and improved 20 coffee wet mills for a cleaner production for the Multifunctional Cooperative of Coffee Exporters and Producers of San Juan de Río Coco (PROCAFE). These mills improved que conditions for managing and treating waste, which, in turn, allows us to produce environmentally friendly quality coffee. We are pleased with the achievements by smallholders; one of the beneficiaries used to ferment his coffee in polyethylene sacks and had a harder time washing it, that is, he had to put more physical effort into it. Partners now see a significant decrease in coffee processing time,” said Ms. Luisa Gonzalez, Cooperative Manager.
Likewise, members of the Montane Coffee Multisectoral Cooperative (COOMCAFE) from San Rafael del Norte, Jinotega Department, are benefiting from the construction and improvement of 20 wet coffee mills. They improved the quality of the coffee processed by the cooperative. “These improvements allow for the transformation of coffee cherry into dry parchment coffee by peeling off the fruit and drying off the grains. This preserves the physical, organoleptic and sanitary quality of the coffee,” commented Mr. Bismark Jarquin, COOMCAFE Manager.
Furthermore, over 600 coffee smallholders associated with Aldea Global benefited from an investment in equipment and infrastructure for the coffee farms and from the establishment of 250 new manzanas of coffee plantations. Also, the coffee milling process was improved thanks to the improvements made to a collection center and the purchase of machinery for industrial drying, which ensures product traceability and adds more value to the commercialisation process.
Actions for cacao
About 350 farmer members of the Flor de Pancasan Cooperative are benefiting from the restoration of the cacao collection center “El Jobo” where the fermentation, pre-drying and cacao pulp drying processes take place in order to sell dry cacao, which results in improved processes and quality. The pre-drying and drying areas were renovated. It can hold up to 600 qq of cacao pulp produced by smallholders from the intervened communities; as a result, 250 qq of dry cacao are produced in each collection center every two weeks.
Furthermore, about 130 cacao farmers (85 of which are women) benefit from the cacao collection center owned by the cooperative Rural Fund of Waslala, which ensures cacao traceability, fair price, access to new markets, and value added for the production process. The collection center can process up to 100 qq of dry cacao every month.
PROMESSA-CAFCA also provides coffee and cacao farmers with technical assistance, training, business management, technological innovation, and access to new markets, and provides capacity building for nine organisations that make up the consortium. The project is implemented by the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in partnership with the above-mentioned organisations. It has invested over €10 million from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in combination with match funds from the organisations comprising the consortium.
Pictures of the cacao collection process in Pancasan Cooperative’s El Jobo.
Before-and-after picture of the coffee wet mill owned by farmer Juan Carlos Paz