TechnoServe has announced the launch of the ‘Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cocoa in the Americas’ (MOCCA) project, a five-year, US$36.4 million initiative funded by the 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, and will aim to improve the livelihoods of more than 120,000 farmers.
The crops represent two of the most important agricultural commodities in the six target countries, where they are grown by more than 600,000 farmers and support millions of jobs.
However, the region’s coffee and cocoa trees are ageing and coupled with a changing climate, this threatens the productivity of farms and increases the risk of diseases.
MOCCA will help farmers protect against these threats by training them in 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 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.
The project will be implemented by a consortium of partners. TechnoServe will coordinate the project and lead activities in the coffee value chain. Lutheran World Relief will lead cocoa value-chain activities, with Rikolto managing the cocoa activities in Ecuador. World Coffee Research and Bioversity will spearhead research efforts, working with regional and national institutions. The Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF) will develop access-to-finance solutions for smallholders, and Conservation International will manage a grant facility for rehabilitation and renovation, as part of efforts under the Sustainable Coffee Challenge.
The JM Smucker Company is providing significant funding to support this initiative as part of the MOCCA project.