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El Salvador, U.S., Mexico Partner to Help Farmers Grow Cacao

El Salvador, U.S., Mexico Partner to Help Farmers Grow Cacao

Posted by Liliana Castaño on April 29, 2014

The United States, Mexico and El Salvador have joined forces to increase cacao production in El Salvador as an alternative source of income for farmers affected by the coffee rust outbreak, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced April 15.

Representatives of the countries, meeting in Mexico City, established a trilateral partnership to support El Salvador’s agriculture strategy, which aims to increase the value chain of cacao and position the country as an export leader. The three countries will also be part of a $50 million, five-year public-private cacao initiative.

“This dynamic partnership will leverage our joint expertise along with that of the private sector to help tens of thousands of rural farmers to double their income and rise out of poverty,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, according to the USAID release. “Through innovative approaches to farming, these women and men will have sustainable livelihoods and increased market access.”

El Salvador’s coffee production declined in 2012–2013 as the result of a severe outbreak of coffee leaf rust, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Although the Salvadoran government has been working on a program to provide replacement trees to coffee farmers and control the rust outbreak, the 2013–2014 crop was expected to decrease by 35 percent to a historic low, according to USDA’s 2013 estimates.

The cacao initiative, expected to begin in August, will do the following:

• Train about 10,000 female and male farmers on supply-chain opportunities, sustainable farming and access to finance.

• Create more than 22,000 jobs, produce at least 8,000 metric tons of cacao and generate $65 million in net income.

• Increase cacao production and taste quality to meet international buyer standards.

• Establish a national cacao institute for soil and seed research, agricultural technologies and climate change adaptability.

The cacao partnership will be implemented by USAID, the Mexican International Cooperation Development Agency and El Salvador’s General Office of Development Cooperation.

USAID Administrator Shah was in Mexico City April 15–16 to lead the U.S. delegation to the first High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. While there, he discussed USAID’s new model for development to help eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, which combines policy reforms with private-sector and donor investments to harness the ingenuity of innovators and entrepreneurs.

    By IPPDigital.-

     

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