Cacao bean exporter and chocolate producer boosting livelihoods of rural farmers in Costa Rica
Upala, Costa Rica, 11 August 2020 – Costa Rican-based Nahua Cacao has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) intending to improve the quality of life of at least 200 low-income cocoa farming families in rural Costa Rica by increasing their income and strengthening their knowledge through improved sustainable agricultural practices by 2021.
BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Nahua is Costa Rica’s leading fine flavor cacao and chocolate bar producer supplying leading chocolatiers and cacao buyers around the world. Nahua’s mission is to produce cacao and fine chocolates, of select single-origin quality, that has a positive impact on people and the planet and applies a holistic approach to cacao cultivation with an emphasis on tracking social, environmental and economic indicators. Nahua’s team leads workshops to teach individual smallholder farmers how to better manage their farms by using improved sustainable farming techniques including cacao renovation activities and soil regeneration practices.
The company’s suppliers are from Upala and Guatuso, two of the poorest districts in Costa Rica where smallholder farmers barely live above the poverty line and lack access to financing opportunities.
Although most rural families in Costa Rica have access to basic necessities, cocoa family farms are often poorly managed, resulting in very low productivity and reduced incomes. Nahua’s network of over 400 smallholder farmers benefit from above-market prices, up to three times more than local prices paid by intermediaries.
Nahua’s Cacao Renovation Program provides smallholder farming families with the knowledge and the tools they need to renew their abandoned and underproductive cacao forests. By encouraging sustainable and regenerative cacao farming practices, farmers can increase long-term productivity of their cacao resulting in improved livelihoods for families. Nahua’s renovation program monitors performance indicators and identifies areas for improvement to achieve more productive yields and increased incomes for farmers.
Nahua promotes a regenerative approach to cacao farming that helps enrich soils, preserve carbon stocks, boost biodiversity, protect watersheds and support a healthy ecosystem that is more resilient to climate change. Producers who participate in the program have the potential to improve the quality of their cacao varieties and more than double their production yields within 24 months.
Nahua is committed towards spreading sustainable farming practices and by 2021 plans to include 200 smallholder farmers in its Cacao Renovation Program. Through targeted trainings and workshops, Nahua expects to work closely with 50 select farmers to implement regenerative practices and increase yields by 30 percent by 2022.
Of the 400 small-scale family farmers Nahua works with, 108 are headed by women. By 2023, the company aims to increase the proportional share of women participating in the Cacao Renovation Program by 25 percent – from the current 18 to 64 female farmers. Nahua is a B Corp company, a certification status that reflects a commitment to rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
“Nahua is thrilled to become BCtA’s first member company based in Costa Rica. We hope our initiative to provide cacao bean farmers with competitive prices, along with agricultural support, will improve their quality of life,” said Juan Pablo Büchert, CEO at Nahua.
“Nahua’s inclusive business model is not only meeting the growing demand for high-quality cocoa in export markets, at the same time it is improving the quality of life of low-income farmers in Costa Rica,” said Luciana Aguiar, Head of Business Call to Action.
BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Nahua: Founded in 2011, Nahua is an exporter of cacao beans and producer of chocolate. The company purchases fresh cacao from more than 400 small producers in Costa Rica, processes the bean in its fermentation and drying facility and markets 95 percent of cocoa beans internationally while five percent is transformed into chocolate bars which are sold locally. Nahua currently exports cocoa to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea. While gourmet chocolate is sold at local markets and exported to Japan, Poland and the United States.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org.