Building a common vision for the Central American Cocoa Sector

Building a common vision for the Central American Cocoa Sector

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Guisselle Alemán
Guisselle Alemán
Comunicación  y gestión de fondos | Nicaragua

Will smallholder cocoa farmers remain competitive in Central America? This was the main question throughout a learning journey that was organised by The National Cocoa Value Chain Committee of Honduras, VECO Mesoamérica, Sustainable Food Lab and the World Cocoa Foundation.

The learning journey aimed for stimulating a joint analysis for developing a common regional vision of a sustainable cocoa sector and a regional cocoa strategy adapted to climate change. Many issues were addressed: climate change, markets and regional support policies for the sector.

We have managed to bring together high-level decision makers of public, private, producers’ and support organisations actively working in the Central American cocoa sector. Through this learning journey and strategic collaboration of our partners, the World Cocoa Foundation and Sustainable Food Lab, we achieve an authentic exchange among various stakeholders, leading to new approaches and a greater alignment of common goals

Karen Janssen Director VECO Mesoamérica

Government representatives, private companies, farmers, transformers, researchers and support organisations from Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador had the opportunity to receive and share information during the learning journey, based on a cocoa production and marketing model in Honduras. For this purpose, they visited the Honduran Agricultural Research Foundation (FHIA), the Agricultural Production Cooperative of Cocoa Farmers of Jutiapa, Copracajul and chocolate companies in the Caribbean and Chocolats Halba.

"We are convinced that there is a lot of goodwill among farmer organisations, the private and public sectors and support organisations to develop the Central American cocoa sector into a vibrant, sustainable and competitive sector that includes smallholder farmers. What they lack, however, is an aligned vision between different stakeholders and countries and how to put it in practice, as well as exchanging best practices. With this initiative, we have taken a first step in our collective learning journey and more intense coordination", said Karen Janssen, Director of VECO Mesoamérica.

(click subtitles when watching the video below)

I saw an opportunity for myself and for my institution to focus on and see exactly a learning path on cocoa and to support training strategies for the development of cocoa production in Nicaragua and other regions

Michael Heally President of the Nicaraguan Agricultural and Livestock Producers Union (UPANIC)

Central American Agricultural Council joins the experience

During the last day of the learning journey representatives of the Ministers of the Central American Agricultural Council joined the group. Participants had the opportunity to present challenges and opportunities around various topics, such as market, genetics, new cocoa agroforestry production models in the hands of smallholder farmers and governance.

For their part, the representatives of the Central American Agricultural Council pledged to support three key topics:

  • The launch of a regional public-private platform, composed of sector stakeholders already integrated in national dialogue platforms.
  • Develop policies, regulations and inclusive development models for the cocoa sector, based on national policies.
  • Review customs barriers: exchange of genetic materials, information and marketing.

To ensure continuity of these actions, country platforms will delegate a team from its members to be part of a regional commission that will give follow-up to the commitments made within the CAC’s support framework.

The learning journey was financed by Swiss Development Cooperation within the framework of the Cocoa Value Chain Knowledge Management in Central America Project.