When Alfonso Tapia started producing cacao a few years ago, he never imagined that today, European-made chocolate would bear his name.
"Don Alfonso" as he is known to his friends, is president of the San Juan Cooperative of Productive Multisectoral Development (Cooperativa de Desarrollo Multisectorial Productivo del San Juan or COODEPROSA), an organization that supports cacao producers in the municipality of El Castillo, Río San Juan, Nicaragua.
In El Castillo, agriculture is the principal economic activity, with their cacao cultivation emerging as an international example of quality, fineness and aroma.
Before we had contact with MOCCA, we lacked knowledge of proper management for cacao cultivation, like the establishment of plantations, pest control, harvesting, post-harvest and traceability. It was very difficult to market our cacao and when we tried to sell it locally, nobody was buying it. We were discouraged.
In 2019, through Lutheran World Relief, COODEPROSA joined the MOCCA project to participate in training programs that support cacao producers in the area to improve their profitability and productivity, strengthening their knowledge of good agricultural practices, improving the quality of their beans and connecting producers with buyers of fine, aromatic cacao.
For Don Alfonso, one of his most important achievements is that the company Mikkel Friis-Holm Ottosen, located in Denmark, recently launched a line of chocolate called "Chocolate Don Alfonso," manufactured with cacao from his farm.