We are grateful for the work of our partner organization Asociación Cristiana de Jóvenes (ACJ). They do an excellent job helping families out of poverty in difficult regions of rural Nicaragua.
ACJ has two landbanks that are in the final stage of the program. They have had the land surveyed and are now waiting for the land titles to be delivered. We praise the Lord for the hard work of the farmers over the years to develop their farms and be able to repay their land loans. The landbank project has many challenges as well as many blessings along the way. It is great to see the success of these projects and we celebrate the fact that we can finish our support for these two projects and move on to new projects.
ACJ and Farmer to Farmer (F2F) have been working on a new project over the last few years. The initial landbanks, though successful, had many challenges. One of the main challenges was that farmers did not have access to good markets, both for inputs and for sale of products. Due to this main challenge, ACJ and F2F have started a Cocoa Business Initiative. Through this project a facility has been built to process raw cocoa into the dried form ready for market. Cocoa has to go through a fermentation process before it can be dried for transport and sale. This process needs to be done soon after harvest so a facility near the farms is required. Currently ACJ has over 40 producers that are growing cocoa that plan to sell to ACJ for processing. Cocoa is a tree crop and it takes 3-4 years before you get a harvest. The cocoa trees that were planted as part of this project will have their first harvest in the fall of 2019. The building for this is already complete and they should be ready to start processing this fall. Currently there are more than 40 acres planted. ACJ plans to increase the acres of cacao to around 170 within five years. This should provide the cocoa business with enough product to run profitably and efficiently with the facilities that they have. Much of the work this quarter for ACJ has been to get cocoa grafts ready, train growers, seek out new potential growers and maintain their small cocoa nursery. Please pray that this enterprise will progress well and provide better access to markets for the farmers in the area so that they can better provide for their families.
We are grateful for the work of Lenin and Sophia and all of the others at ACJ that make this work happen.