Technoserve launches MOCCA project

International non-profit organisation TechnoServe has launched the Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) Project, a five-year, US$36.4 million initiative, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. Implemented with principal partner Lutheran World Relief, MOCCA will build the key agricultural sectors of coffee and cocoa in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Peru, directly improving the livelihoods of more than 120,000 farmers. “Throughout the course of our work in Latin America, we’ve seen time and again that coffee and cocoa can provide improved livelihoods for farmers and help to transform communities,” says William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe. “We are excited to work with so many farmers, companies, and institutions across Latin America, alongside our exceptional project partners, to help ensure a sustainable future for these critical value chains.” TechnoServe says coffee and cocoa crops represent two of the most important value chains in the six target countries, where they are grown by more than 600,000 farmers and support millions of jobs. But the crops face an uncertain future. The regions’ stock of coffee and cocoa trees is aging, and climate change is threatening the productivity of farms and increasing the risk of devastating crop diseases. Between 2012 and 2014, an outbreak of coffee leaf rust hit small family farms hard, causing more than US$1 billion in crop losses in Central America and costing 1.7 million jobs across Latin America. MOCCA will help farmers protect against these threats by training them on climate-resilient agronomic practices, facilitating greater access to finance, expanding availability of high-quality genetic material for planting, and augmenting research focused on developing more resilient varieties. The project will also aim to link farmers to higher-value markets, helping them to earn higher incomes that they can reinvest into their farms. In order to achieve its ambitious targets, MOCCA will engage and partner with public and private actors in both sectors – only cocoa in Ecuador – including national and regional research institutions, trade associations, exporters, nursery operators, lenders, and processors. Image credit: World Coffee Research

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