The nonprofit organization recently obtained a $500,000 grant from the Pathways to Prosperity Innovation Challenge to help Central American cocoa farmers. Several other initiatives from national governments are also underway to boost the region’s cocoa quality and quantity.
Up and coming origins
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews, Jennifer Wiegel, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) regional representative for Central America and Haiti, said that the combined actions would lead to premium chocolate prospects for manufacturers.
“For the chocolate industry, the long term message from here would be: Watch out for Central America. There will be higher volumes of quality cocoa coming out of the region.”
“There’s a new origin up and coming – see if you want to get into it.”
LWR intends to use its grant money to digitalize its Cocoa Toolkit so that it could be used by extension workers on smart phones to train around 4,000 farmers on best practices.
LWR is already working in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, but the grant allows it to also help farmers in Costa Rica and Guatemala.
“The cocoa sector in the region is very underdeveloped,” said Wiegel. “The real challenge is quality and having enough volumes.”