BALTIMORE, U.S. — Lutheran World Relief, along with principal partner TechnoServe, announces the launch of the Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) project, a five-year, $36.4 million initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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 over 120,000 farmers.
Lutheran World Relief will lead cocoa value-chain activities for MOCCA. Lutheran World Relief announced the initiative at the 2018 World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil.
“Investing in cocoa production and linking to expanded markets is an effective means of increasing income and moving poor rural communities to greater self-sufficiency,” says Daniel Speckhard, Lutheran World Relief president & CEO. “We are excited to be a part of the MOCCA initiative and to work with these partners who are recognized and effective leaders in their fields.”
Through MOCCA, Lutheran World Relief will lead a comprehensive approach to promoting cocoa production focused on increasing crops yields, improving cocoa quality, enhancing the professional capacity of both farmers and producer organizations, and facilitating linkages between cocoa buyers and sellers.
It will also expand the availability of high-quality genetic material for planting, and augment research into developing more resilient varieties. Lutheran World Relief, in partnership with Bioversity and the Global Network for Cacao Genetic Resources (CacaoNet), will support the maintenance of and facilitate access to national and international collections of cacao germplasm banks, which store genetic material for preserving and enhancing cocoa varieties.
The project will also link farmers to higher-value markets, helping to boost income that they can reinvest into their farms. Lutheran World Relief will strengthen its signature Mobile Cocoa platform and the Regional Cocoa Map to reach more farmers and facilitate communications with regional and international buyers.
MOCCA will be implemented by a consortium of partners. TechnoServe will coordinate the project and lead activities in the coffee value chain, while Lutheran World Relief coordinates cocoa value-chain activities, with Rikolto managing the cocoa activities in Ecuador. World Coffee Research (WCR) and Bioversity International will spearhead research efforts, working with regional and national institutions. The Institute for Smallholder Finance will develop access-to-finance solutions for smallholders, and Conservation International will manage a grant facility for rehabilitation and renovation.
The World Cocoa Foundation and the Fine Chocolate Industry Association are supporting the cocoa genetic diversity conservation efforts in MOCCA.