BALTIMORE, May 24, 2019—Lutheran World Relief will moderate a plenary panel at an international gathering of the fine chocolate industry that will highlight the launch of the cocoa component of the MOCCA initiative, a five-year project assisting small-scale coffee and cocoa farmers in six Latin American countries.
The panel is part of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association’s June 22 “Elevate Chocolate” event in New York. It will be moderated by Lutheran World Relief’s Carolina Aguilar, and will include panelists Bill Guyton, FCIA CEO; Brigitte La Liberte, a scientist with Biodiversity International; and Darin Sukha, a research fellow at the Cocoa Research Centre.
Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA’s) Food for Progress Program and implemented with principal partner TechnoServe, the MOCCA initiative 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.
“MOCCA will facilitate partnerships with local, regional and international markets, increasing farmer income and cacao-growing communities to reach greater sustainability,” says Carolina Aguilar, Lutheran World Relief Cocoa Director for the MOCCA project.
The cacao component of the program, the focus of the panel discussion, will be implemented in Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador to provide farmers with training, build buyer-seller relationships, facilitate access to finance, provide support to local trade associations and platforms, and spur investments in research. Lutheran World Relief will work closely with the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), whose 360 members focus on the production of premium chocolate and encourage utilizing best practices in cocoa production and processing. Other partners include Biodiversity International, Rikolto, CATIE, and CRC.
"We are excited to partner with the new MOCCA program in Latin America, which will help improve farmer livelihoods and strengthen supply chain linkages with fine chocolate makers and chocolatiers," says Bill Guyton, executive director of the FCIA.
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About Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health:
With nearly 75 years of demonstrated expertise helping to transform some of the hardest-to-reach places in the developing world, Lutheran World Relief is an innovative, trusted international nongovernmental organization committed to those otherwise cut off from basic human services and opportunities. In January 2019, Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health combined operations to dramatically increase our impact on breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting healthier families and communities throughout the world. For more information, visit lwr.org.