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Lutheran World Relief to Co-Host National Cocoa Forum in Nicaragua; Present New Cocoa Toolkit for Central American Farmers

Baltimore, September 18, 2012 — Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and the Center for Tropical Agriculture Research and Education (CATIE) will host this year´s National Cocoa Forum in Managua, Nicaragua on September 19 and 20. At the forum, LWR will present an innovative and user-friendly toolkit designed to help farmers, cooperatives and agricultural extension workers to improve cocoa production and processing as well as strengthen their business models.

The featured toolkit is an important piece of LWR´s efforts in Central America to improve the quality of cocoa produced in the region, and also increase farmers´ incomes through greater participation in the agriculture value chain. The toolkit was designed with technical input from agricultural research institutions, cocoa industry specialists, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and in close cooperation with farmer cooperatives.

In addition to presenting the Cocoa Toolkit, the National Cocoa Forum will bring together more than 100 cocoa farmers and representatives from international and national public and private institutions. The event will focus on the role and impact of cocoa on rural development in Nicaragua and throughout Central America, including proposals for improving cocoa quality and post-harvesting techniques. The forum will include panel discussions about the challenges and prospects for the cocoa value chain in Nicaragua, a discussion with a representative of the Hershey Company on improved post-harvest processing, and a presentation by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture featuring the challenges that climate change presents to the cocoa sector. In addition, Nicaragua´s Ministry of Agriculture will present the nation´s new Cocoa Policy and cocoa cooperatives from Haiti and Peru will make presentations.

A diverse set of agencies and organizations will participate in the National Cocoa Forum, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Rainforest Alliance, Root Capital, Catholic Relief Services, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Agriculture, and the National Agriculture University of Nicaragua. A number of Nicaraguan and Central American cooperatives and farmers associations will also participate.

The event will take place at the Hotel Barceló in Managua, Nicaragua and represents an opportunity for farmers, technical experts, NGOs and government institutions to help strengthen and grow Central America´s cocoa sector

For more information about the event, or to participate, please contact Carolyn Barker-Villena Lutheran World Relief´s Deputy Director for Latin America

About Lutheran World Relief (LWR):
Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. For more information, visit

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.

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