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New Grants

Asociación Unidad por el Desarrollo Comunitario (UDECO), $296,236, over three years, to train 1,200 people from 200 families in new forms of community organization and production technologies and to improve food security and family income through a loan fund for agricultural, forestry and livestock development. (NC-240)

Asociación de Consultores para el Desarrollo de la Pequeña, Mediana y Microempresa (ACODEP), $395,300, over three years, to develop an integrated housing program for 3,200 low-income families. Poor households will receive technical assistance and training in design and construction as well as financial services for home improvements or new housing. (NC-243)

Fondo de Desarrollo para la Mujer-Cenzontle (FODEM), $472,727 for a three-year credit and training project contributing to the economic development and empowerment of 9,600 low-income women micro-entrepreneurs. (NC-244)

Movimiento por la Paz, Acción Forestal y el Medio Ambiente (MOPAF-MA), $356,883, over three years, to organize, train and strengthen territorial networks of farmers working to recover an area of approximately 360 square kilometers. The award to MOPAF-MA will benefit approximately 1,500 families in eight communities, especially those residing on the lower hillside and slopes of the watershed basin of Lake Managua. (NC-247)

Asociación para el Desarrollo Económico con Equidad (Alternativa), $271,400, over three years, for a program directed at developing and strengthening, through technical assistance and access to credit, approximately 1,200 micro-and small enterprises involved in production, service and commercial activities in urban and rural areas in the municipality of Masaya. (NC-248)

Cooperativa Agropecuaria de Servicios de Extracción de Aceites Esenciales, R.L., El Bálsamo (COOPE- SIUNA), $162,500 to configure, install, maintain and operate a business owned by allspice producers residing in the buffer zone of the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve. COOPESIUNA members will use renewable energy technologies (solar and biofuel) to produce and market ground allspice and allspice essential oil. (NC-249)

Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples San Isidro R. L. (COOPECAFÉ), $122,000 to configure, set up, operate and maintain an enterprise that will use a solar/biomass drying system to process coffee for sale locally and internationally, benefiting approximately 1,200 people associated with 200 small- and medium-scale coffee producers. (NC-250)

Supplemental Grants over $10,000

Fundación por la Unidad y Reconstrucción de la Costa Atlántica (FURCA), $50,780 for purchasing replacement vegetable and fruit seeds, plants, tree seedlings, and small animals. The amendment will also support training and technical assistance for project beneficiaries and FURCA’s additional administrative and operational expenses. (NC-232-A1) 

Capturing Value Added for Farmers' Cooperatives

By Miriam Brandão, Senior Foundation Representative for Central America

The Cooperativa Agropecuaria de Servicios de Extracción de Aceites Esenciales R.L, El Bálsamo (COOPESIUNA) and the Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples San Isidro R.L. (COOPECAFÉ) were formed with the help of the Programa de Campesino a Campesino (PCAC), sponsored by the Nicaraguan NGO Union Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos, which has offered farmers in Nicaragua “horizontal” technical assistance and training for more than 15 years. IAF’s goal in supporting these two rural cooperatives is to assist their development into agro-industries that use sustainable methods to capture value added from processing and direct export.

COOPESIUNA, which obtained its legal status in 1999, operates in the buffer zone of the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve. Its members have launched an enterprise using renewable energy technology (solar and biofuel) to cultivate indigenous allspice, harvest the berries and leaves, and extract their highly valued essential oils. The farmers have established nurseries for thousands of allspice trees as well as citrus trees, cocoa and other appropriate forest cover species. COOPESIUNA aims to significantly increase revenue for member families and to introduce sustainable extraction methods to preserve the forest ecosystem and associated biodiversity.

With $162,500 from the IAF, COOPESIUNA will develop and implement a capacity-building, training and marketing program to support the installation, operation, maintenance and repair of solar and related equipment. It will assist in the design and configuration of the processing plant and the operational plan for the cooperative and provide quality control and support for processing and export activities. Members will receive training in mixed-use agroforestry, nursery, and planting and harvesting techniques. Initially, the project will benefit the 69 members of the cooperative and their families, approximately 400 people. Another 250 families involved in allspice production in the zone will benefit from the project’s future expansion.

COOPECAFÉ, incorporated in 2000, belongs to 200 small- and medium-scale coffee producers residing in six municipalities in the department of Boaco. The cooperative purchased land and, with a grant from the Austrian development agency, constructed a facility that allows coffee growers to process their own harvest using an off-grid, stand-alone solar/biomass coffee mill, as well as stores and helps export coffee for COOPECAFÉ members. IAF’s award of $122,000 will co-finance a drying system and milling and sorting equipment. It will also provide the remaining investment capital needed to make the farmer-owned coffee mill operational as well as working capital and equipment for a roasting company owned and operated by women of the cooperative. In all, the project will benefit 1,400 people, including COOPECAFÉ’s members and their families.

COOPESIUNA and COOPECAFÉ also receive support from the Mesoamerican Development Institute, the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility, the Frontera Agrícola Program of Nicaragua’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and Oxfam-United Kingdom. In three years, their members should be fully trained in all phases of the processing equipment and able to manage their enterprises without outside assistance. Their members’ income should increase substantially through processing, marketing and the direct export of biodiversity-friendly coffee and essential allspice oil. Finally, it is anticipated that these projects will result in decreased destruction of native forests through conventional farming practices.