Casitas, San Antonio de Cortés, Honduras.
Don Alejandro Edgardo Madrid Orellana and his wife Rosa Nelly Lopez Contreras are cocoa producers and members of the APAGRISAC Cooperative (Association of Agroindustrial Producers of San Antonio de Cortés) and since 2013, they have been managing an area of 5 manzanas of cocoa established under agroforestry systems.
One of the benefits of being grouped in the Cooperative is having access to training and when in 2019, APAGRISAC established an alliance with the MOCCA project, Alejandro was able to join the training program “El Viverista Estrella”, which in Honduras to date has strengthened 13 nurseries, to ensure quality planting material and more direct, feasible and profitable supply chains for small farmers.
Training curriculum “El Viverista Estrella”: Cocoa genetics, nursery establishment and infrastructure, cocoa nutrition in nursery, grafting techniques, integrated pest management, business management, plantation management, clonal gardens, pruning, seed production for rootstock and bud sticks, technical specifications for harvesting, labeling, packaging and packing.
As a cocoa producer, Alejandro identified nurseries and clonal gardens as a business opportunity. In 2022, after receiving training in ten topics related to the production of quality cocoa plants, he and his wife and four children established a nursery to diversify the family’s income.
“I always wanted to learn how to produce quality plants and with MOCCA and Viverista Estrella I have set up my own nursery that I manage with the help of my family. Today, I have an additional income that amounts to almost $15,000 a year from the sale of our plants,” explains Alejandro.
The Madrid family is committed to continue growing their nursery and to establish a fish tank for the production of tilapia with the profits, thus diversifying the farm and generating more income for the family, which will be used to improve the house and the farm itself.
“We think that this work we have started will be very important in the medium and long term for our community and organization, since we are strengthening efforts for the development and dissemination of productive varieties, adapted to the conditions of the farms of the producers in Honduras,” added Rosa Contreras, Alejandro’s wife, who, together with her children and husband, is now also a Star Nurseryman(Viverista Estrella).
MOCCA is a 7-year initiative funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its Food for Progress Program, which seeks to improve agricultural productivity and expand trade in agricultural products. The MOCCA project is being executed by a consortium led by TechnoServe, Lutheran World Relief leads the cocoa activities.