MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Switzerland will invest $24 million in Nicaragua this year for cacao production, climate change reduction and municipal management, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Cosude) announced Wednesday.
Most of the money will go towards developing cacao programs in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean, said José Sandino, the Nicaraguan official in charge of the Cosude program.
The project is intended to help diversify the agriculture of Nicaragua, which is primarily concentrated in coffee – the export most affected by the rust fungus last year – as well as sugar cane, beans and peanuts.
Nicaragua already produces cacao in the south Caribbean, Rivas and near the southern San Juan River. The government believes cacao has growth potential, and official data shows it has already been well received in Germany, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Switzerland is an important supporter of Nicaragua, along with Venezuela, the United States, the Netherlands and Japan. The European country has approved a total of $210 million for Central America during the 2014-2018 period. This money will be distributed primarily in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.
Experts say a global chocolate shortage is on the horizon, and the value of Latin America’s cacao crop could rise.
Want to see how chocolate is made? See a Tico Times photo report showing the process from cacao bean to bar.