Youth renews Nicaraguan cocoa sector

Youth renews Nicaraguan cocoa sector

in News
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Production with better prospects for sustainability

The renovation of the cocoa subsector not only comes with the planting of new areas, but also the energy and inspiration that young people can contribute, especially when they see good opportunities for economic growth. Two Belgian organizations are boosting Nicaragua's cocoa sector through the project "Yes, Youth Can", sponsored by VECO Mesoamerica and ZUIDDAG, which also involved the cooperative La Campesina. It is expected to reach 300 young people in the municipalities of Matiguás and Río Blanco of Nicaragua in three years, including 120 young women.

Only a few young people know what can be done with cocoa, for example, chocolate.

Ingrid Paez, a young member of La Campesina.

As the farmer population is aging, young people prefer to migrate to urban cities as they do not see opportunities in agriculture. To avoid this, the project will work in three areas: economic empowerment, capacity-building, and leadership and participation. Support will also be provided for production of cocoa, chocolate and organic fertilizers, and promotion of agro-tourism.

Twelve young Nicaraguans went to Belgium and were impressed by the high solidarity of the Belgian people, who were sad after hearing about sexist stories and lack of basic services. The cultural exchange was mutual because a group of young Belgians came to Nicaragua to meet young cocoa farmers. However, this was not the end. Joke Descan, a student at the University of Collega Leuven-Limburg came to the La Campesina Cooperative to make her thesis on agro-tourism, providing a good plan to start a new source of income. The experience is unique for Katya Acuna, the young project coordinator: "Working with young people is inspiring, energizing and great fun, but it is also challenging because learning in the rural areas is another world."

Young men and women have the same rights. I think this project will change this system where women only help in the kitchen.

Delvin Zamora, Vice-President of cooperative La Campesina.

Youth education requires innovative teaching strategies, such as games, dances and role playing. This way young people lose their fear, gain knowledge and become better integrated as a team. They want to break the myth that only men can become good economic actors.