A new vision for Nicaragua’s smallholder cocoa farms


Photo credit: CIAT-CGIAR


Knowledge and information for development: A new vision for Nicaragua’s smallholder cocoa farms

Amidst the green mantle that covers the steep hillsides of Nicaragua’s mountainous center-north region, Doreyda Dávila proudly surveys her cocoa trees. “I have two manzanas (1.4 ha) of cocoa. They’re still little, but they’re growing,” she smiles. “It is hope that we have for the future.” For Doreyda, like for many farmers in the region, working the land is a continuous loop of giving to and receiving from the land they inherited from their ancestors, ensuring their families and communities thrive.

Nicaragua is facing a complex web of development issues that are challenging the delicate balance of traditional production practices that have been passed down over generations. Extensive, unsustainable livestock farming and a lack of incentives and policy enforcement to protect conservation areas has resulted in the rapid expansion of the agricultural frontier, with over 20% of the country’s forests lost to date.

Natural resource degradation is exacerbated by the region’s high vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Currently emerging from one of the most severe droughts on record, farm families have suffered significant losses in crop production and negative impacts to their food security. Over half of the country’s rural population lives in conditions of poverty as an evolving economic landscape, coupled with limited access to markets, is leaving vulnerable communities behind.

Knowledge is Power: The Territorial Learning Alliances

Read the full article: CIAT-CGIAR

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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