What do we do?
The El Salvador Cacao Alliance is a national initiative, positioning the country as a privileged source for high-quality, fine flavored cacao in the "specialty and gourmet" segments on the international market.
The El Salvador Cacao Alliance seeks to foster the rebirth of cacao through agroforestry systems that enable families to generate income by becoming involved in cacao growing and production around the country.
The Alliance enhances different areas of the cacao value chain to ensure competitive positioning for Salvadoran cacao on the international and national markets by accessing high quality technical assistance for small and medium farmers who are interested in the crop.
This assistance covers the processes of planting, producing and managing the crop post-harvest. Advocacy efforts are also being pursued to get banks to open lines of credit that favor smallholder farmers who become involved in any link along the cacao value chain.
Grown on a national scale, cacao has potential for enhancing biodiversity in the country, restoring degraded ecosystems, improving the quality of soil and water, promoting the potential for adaptation when encountering present and future extreme weather events.
Part of our work also involves promoting strategies that favor innovation and quality to facilitate Salvadoran farmers and companies preparing to improve productivity on global markets for cacao and derivative products, and to supply the national market.
Throughout the entire process, the project is strengthening organizational processes for autonomy and economic empowerment aimed at women, men and youth, improving conditions for their involvement along the cacao value chain.
El Salvador Cacao Alliance expects to contribute to the improvement of incomes for up to 10,000 men and women farmers by establishing cacao-based agroforestry systems, and foster biodiversity conservation and resiliency in the face of the effects of climate change. This is all expected to be achieved through different activities that will be carried out from September 2014 to September 2019. These actions include:
- Cataloging indigenous material by geographic location, quality and taste.
- Producing a national map of cacao by quality.
- Establishing a national genetic bank to preserve native varieties.
- Constructing four medium-sized cacao processing plants with the respective planning permits.
- Providing technical assistance in twelve departments and 109 municipalities on the production of cacao in agroforestry systems, employing comprehensive agro-ecological practices.
- Promoting the active participation of local actors such as the Associations for the Development of the Community (ADESCO), farmer associations and/or cooperatives, municipal governments, and municipal environmental units.
- Promoting cacao-based agroforestry systems (AFS,) intercropping maize, beans, yucca (casava), vegetables, timber and fruit trees (six AFS designs).
- Implementation of different cacao-based AFS can contribute significantly toward the conservation of biodiversity.
- Promotion of planting native species of trees in the cacao plantations to improve the habitat of relevant species with regard to their biology (nesting, shelter, food and reproduction).
- Promote technical assistance in the production of alternative crops such as incorporating fruit and timber trees, aromatic plants and others that are adapted to the bioclimatic conditions of cacao plantations.
- Promoting comprehensive management of organic and inorganic solid waste management, and of the effluents generated during cacao processing.
- Promoting integration in all program activities, promoting direct participation and involvement of women, men and youth.
- Implementing different irrigation systems in 50% the fields of all farmers supported by the project.
- Strengthening the work of the National Cacao Roundtable in terms of research, development and extension for cacao in the country.
- Facilitating the creation of a governing body for the cacao value chain.
- Promoting services for accessing markets and financial services that will be profitable for the activities all along the value chain.
El Salvador Cacao Alliance enhances the cacao growing value chain by fostering production, developing storage capacity and quality, post-harvest handling, as well as transformation and commercialization toward the international and national markets.