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Five-Year, $36.4 Million Effort to Boost Coffee and Cocoa in Latin America

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The international development nonprofit TechnoServe is leading the coffee-related efforts in a five-year, $36.4 million initiative designed to revive and bolster the coffee and cocoa sectors in six Latin American coffee-growing countries.

The initiative is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with additional funding from J.M. Smucker Company. It will be led by a consortium of organizations from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

According to an announcement from TechnoServe today, the initiative will benefit coffee and cocoa producers in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Peru, directly affecting some 120,000 farmers.

Called Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA), the initiative will include farmer training on climate-resilient agronomy, opportunities for access to financing and higher-quality buying markets, and expanded availability to high-quality genetic material for new plantings.

“The region’s stock of coffee and cocoa trees is aging, and, coupled with a changing climate, this threatens the productivity of farms and increases the risk of devastating crop diseases,” TechnoServe said today. “Between 2012 and 2014, for example, an outbreak of coffee leaf rust — a fungus that cripples the productivity of coffee trees — hit small family farms hard, causing more than $1 billion in crop losses in Central America and costing 1.7 million jobs across Latin America.”

While TechnoServe will take the leading role in project implementation in the coffee chain, the nonprofit Lutheran World Relief will lead the efforts in the cocoa chain. Other collaborators in the MOCCA initiative include: Rikolto, which will manage the cocoa activities in Ecuador; World Coffee Research and Bioversity, which will lead research efforts with regional and national institutions; The Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) for financial solutions for smallholders; and Conservation International, which will run a grant facility as part of its efforts in the ongoing Sustainable Coffee Challenge.

“Throughout the course of our work in Latin America, we’ve seen time and again that coffee and cocoa can provide improved livelihoods for farmers and help to transform communities,” William Warshauer, president and CEO of TechnoServe, said in today’s announcement. “We are excited to work with so many farmers, companies, and institutions across Latin America, alongside our exceptional project partners, to help ensure a sustainable future for these critical value chains.”

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