MANAGUA, NICARAGUA—In an effort to promote fine quality cocoa produced by small-scale Nicaraguan farmers, Lutheran World Relief helped to organize a national competition this month to select six finalists to participate in the 2017 International Cocoa Awards.
The competition was organized in collaboration with the Cocoa of Excellence program and with the participation of an international panel of judges. The six winners, which were announced on Dec. 16 in Managua, will advance to the international competition in October at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.
One sample in the Nicaraguan national contest, from the COODEPROSA cooperative of Rio San Juan, was singled out by the judges for its quality.
The other finalists include:
- COOPROCAFUC — a cooperative from Rio San Juan, Nicaragua
- Ingemann Fine Cocoa, a private company that was named among the best 17 samples of the world in the ICA 2015 edition
- Cacao Oro de Nicaragua — Private Company
- Cooperativa Flor de Dalia — a cooperative from El Tuma-La Dalia, Nicaragua
- CACAONICA — a cooperative from Waslala, Nicaragua
The event received significant local media coverage:
El Nuevo Diario:
LWR works to promote the products of Nicaragua’s small-scale cacao farmers because they face technical and commercial hurdles in reaching bigger markets that will provide ample income to lift their families out of poverty.
Three of the finalists in the Nicaragua competition — COODEPROSA, COOPROCAFUC and CACAONICA — participate in LWR’s Program for Rural Enterprise, Health and Environment (PROGRESA), a four-year value chain strengthening project for the cacao and livestock sectors in the Atlantic Coast Region of Nicaragua. PROGRESA, which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a consortium of agencies lead by Catholic Relief Services, where Lutheran World Relief and TechnoServeare working directly with 1,250 smallholder cocoa farmers among 14 vulnerable municipalities in Rio San Juan and the Northern and Southern Autonomous Atlantic Regions of Nicaragua to increase agricultural productivity of cocoa and livestock value chains , and to expand trade of agricultural products by facilitating private-private and public-private relationships.
The judges included:
- Mikkel Friis Holm — founder of Friis-Holm Chocolate, a Danish bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer
- Art Pollard — founder of Amano Artisan Chocolate, a bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer based in Orem, Utah.
- Zoi Papalexandratou — ZOTO, a Belgium-based cocoa consultancy
To view television news clips on this event, please visit the LWR Newswire.