“The fact that Ingemann comes until my little farm is a relief for me, as I don’t have to worry about the transport.”
I wish the coffee company would also come to my farm to buy my harvest as Ingemann does for the cocoa. I don’t have any means of transport and here the roads are bad. Some buses are traveling here, but it would take me two days to go to the city to deliver my coffee. When I harvest my coffee, I sell it to a buyer that picks it up at my place, but he buys it very cheap.
Cocoa Producer from El Cua, Matagalpa
“Cocoa is helping reforesting Nicaragua and mitigating Climate change”
Before I started my plantation, this area here was completely empty. There was not even one tree, everything had been cut down. I am very happy to reforest my land. I have planted some bamboo around my water source; I have heard that it will preserve it. I am also going to plant more trees on the area behind the house, because I think it is everyone’s responsibility to help mitigate climate change.
Cocoa Producer from El Cua, Matagalpa
“Cocoa is our main and most sustainable source of income”
My family and I moved from Jinotega to Bocay in 2005. At that time, we were producing coffee, corn, red beans and we had some cattle. I don’t know a lot about business and I don’t know how to use a computer, but I’ve always kept my numbers in a book. My cocoa plantation started to produce 3 years ago, and it appeared to us that it was the most profitable of our crops. We stopped producing beans, corn and we have reduced coffee, to focus on cocoa. My plans for the future is to keep planting cocoa, build a bigger house and maintain the road to the farm.
Cocoa producer from Bocay, Matagalpa
“Now, I am better managing my farm and my plantation, and take better decisions”
Before I started my plantation, I didn’t know anything about cocoa. I only knew about coffee. And you know that each crop has its particularities. I participated in all the training, I never missed one session. Because I want to learn. If I learn more, I will produce more and I will earn more money. And now, thanks to my training book, I can compare the activities I did in the past and the results I’ve had, to repeat the same or correct them.
Cocoa Producer from Bocay, Matagalpa
Collection at farm gate
We are working with more than 450 producers throughout Nicaragua. Some of them are particularly small (less than 1Ha) and can’t afford to invest in labor or in transport. To be able to work with them and make it more sustainable for everyone, we are go weekly to the plantations, to collect the cocoa in wet-mass at each farm gates. The producer doesn’t have to deal with the risk and the cost of post-harvest, and can focus on the management of their plantation. Furthermore, this enables us to control fermentation from the very beginning, hence improving the flavor development of the beans.
Climate Change Mitigations
Nicaragua is in the top 5 of the most affected countries by climate change. The weather is changing noticeably every year, and the temperature increase has already negatively affected important crops like coffee and honey. Since we started the project in Nicaragua, more than 1 million cocoa trees have been planted, and we have many more to come. In addition to helping farmers make a better living, the fine cocoa sector in Nicaragua is contributing to the mitigation of climate change. Cocoa has a great future in the country: all the areas that used to be good for producing coffee will slowly turn into areas that produce cocoa as the temperatures increase.
Sustainable Sourcing Conditions
To set up a sustainable model and encourage producers to continue cultivating fine cocoa instead of more productive trees of lower quality, we are paying our producers a premium price. Juan Flores receives payment for each kilo of dried cocoa. Although it is delivered in wet-mass, the price of NY stock exchange + 25%, which is among the highest price paid to producers in the world. Cocoa is really making a difference in the lives of our producers.
Business and technical training
To make sure that the producers make the most out of their plantations, we’ve created two training programs, both free of charge for the producers. The first one is Academia de Cacao, a technical training program of four modules, to train the producer how to manage their trees (pruning, nutrition etc), their plantation and control pest and diseases. The other is The Profe Project, a business program focused on encouraging producers to have future plans, inventories, registers of costs and income, for better awareness and better decision making. Both programs are followed up by in-field advisors who visit the producers daily.