Jinotega is a department of Nicaragua located near the border with Honduras. The region is known mainly for being a high, mountainous area with a historical coffee-growing tradition.
In Jinotega, as in other parts of Latin America, women play an important role in the coffee business, contributing to economic development and generating jobs in their communities.
Audelly Carolina Picado is a woman from the La Mocuana community in Jinotega. She has been involved in coffee growing since she was 11 years old. Coffee has been her family’s main source of income for as long as she can remember.
In 2017, Audelly faced one of the greatest challenges of her life: her husband died of a heart attack, leaving her in charge of their two children and the coffee farm that they had started together.
“The first years without my husband were very difficult, I did not want to know anything about coffee and I no longer wanted to go to work in the fields, however, thinking about the future of my two children and seeing my coffee-growing neighbors growing alongside their farms were my motivation to keep going”, she comments.
Audelly joined the MOCCA project through an alliance with CISA EXPORTADORA / MERCON, motivated by the desire to learn better cultivation practices that allow her to increase her yields and profits.
“The videos and manuals that MOCCA sends to my cell phone have taught me the importance of pruning my coffee plantation. Thanks to these practices, my plants are healthier and grow stronger. The trainers are always attentive to my queries through WhatsApp and we constantly participate in forums and virtual conferences about good coffee-growing practices. ”Audelly Picado
The Comprehensive Remote Training Plans are a working method that aims to establish channels, tools and digital content to be shared effectively with the training teams and in turn with coffee producers. The CRTP are part of TechnoServe MOCCA’s response strategy to the time and frequency limitations for face-to-face training caused by the COVID19 pandemic, adapting technical content into friendly audiovisual products that are shared through ICTs such as WhatsApp, Facebook, as well as traditional media, such as radio.
In Nicaragua, the coffee sector involves some 45,000 producers and generates more than 300,000 direct jobs.
Higher-value markets for small coffee producers
Luis Chavarría is another Nicaraguan producer that is part of MOCCA’s Comprehensive Remote Training Plans. In 2015, he inherited from his father 8.5 acres of land for growing coffee, and little by little Luis managed to buy more land until reaching the 13.6 acres that he currently has.
“Before I had been doing everything based on my experience and without any technical foundation. I would apply fertilizers without knowing if it was necessary or not. Thanks to the support of MOCCA, today I know the importance of doing a soil analysis to identify nutritional deficiencies according to the type of land, which allows me to make a fertilization plan to have healthier plants and obtain a quality harvest, and that way I can sell my coffee at a better price”, Luis Chavarría.
One of Luis’s goals is to apply the good practices learned from the MOCCA trainings to become certified and in turn gain access to higher value markets that would allow him to increase his income and quality of life.
“The good thing about MOCCA remote trainings is that we continue to learn good practices to improve our coffee plantations and help stop the spread of COVID19 infections”, Luis comments.
The design of the CRTP was developed by a multidisciplinary team of coffee and communication specialists, as well as TechnoServe training coordinators, to adapt the curriculum of good coffee production practices for the MOCCA project.
Virtual access to good coffee growing practices
Don José Rodríguez, from the Peñas Blancas area, Nicaragua, is a 61-year-old coffee producer who has been dedicated to growing coffee for as long as he can remember.
“I am very proud to be a Nicaraguan coffee grower, I started with a small piece of land of 1700 square meters and I currently have 17 acres of land for coffee production plus 8 acres in the renovation stage and forest reserve”, José Rodríguez, coffee producer.
Through the trainings facilitated by MOCCA, José learned to elaborate a productive diagnosis that has allowed him to better understand the status of his plantation and to make decisions on renovation and rehabilitation.
“With the MOCCA remote trainings, I have the knowledge at hand. I just open the screen of my cell phone and I am able to get information on good practices to harvest a better coffee”, José Rodríguez comments.
About CISA EXPORTADORA / MERCON
MOCCA and its alliance with CISA EXPORTADORA / MERCON provide face-to-face and remote technical assistance to 5,000 people that produce coffee to improve their productivity, quality, traceability, and profitability, improving their access to certified markets with the Rainforest Alliance and CAFE Practices standards, and developing an Early Warning System for the management of pests and diseases based on agroclimatic information .