Major New Initiative to Boost Latin America’s Coffee and Cocoa Sectors
New U.S. government investment through TechnoServe and partners will improve markets and livelihoods in six countries
Washington, D.C. — The international nonprofit TechnoServe today announced the launch of the Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) Project, a five-year, $36.4 million initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Implemented with principal partner Lutheran World Relief, MOCCA will build the key agricultural sectors of coffee and cocoa in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Peru, directly improving the livelihoods of over 120,000 farmers.
Coffee and cocoa are not only beloved consumer products: the crops represent two of the most important value chains in the six target countries, where they are grown by more than 600,000 farmers and support millions of jobs. But the crops face an uncertain future.
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. 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.
MOCCA will help farmers protect against these threats by training them on climate-resilient agronomic practices, facilitating greater access to finance, expanding availability of high-quality genetic material for planting, and augmenting research focused on developing more resilient varieties. The project will also link farmers to higher-value markets, helping them to earn higher incomes that they can reinvest into their farms. In order to achieve its ambitious targets, MOCCA will engage and partner with public and private actors in both sectors (only cocoa in Ecuador), including national and regional research institutions, trade associations, exporters, nursery operators, lenders, and processors.
This project will be implemented by a consortium of partners. TechnoServe will coordinate the project and lead activities in the coffee value chain. Lutheran World Relief will lead cocoa value-chain activities, with Rikolto managing the cocoa activities in Ecuador. World Coffee Research (WCR) and Bioversity will spearhead research efforts, working with regional and national institutions. The Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) will develop access-to-finance solutions for smallholders, and Conservation International will manage a grant facility for rehabilitation and renovation, as part of efforts under the Sustainable Coffee Challenge.
The J.M. Smucker Company, a major purchaser and roaster of coffee, continually dedicates resources towards activities that promote the sustainability of coffee production by smallholder farmers, and is providing significant funding to support this initiative as part of the MOCCA project.
“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,” said William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe. “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.”
TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A nonprofit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with enterprising men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities. With 50 years of proven results, TechnoServe believes in the power of private enterprise to transform lives.