After eight weeks of travel through Managua, Matagalpa, Esteli, Ocotal, Jintoega, and Dipilto, sleeping in over fifteen different hotel beds, and consuming
about 40 pounds of gallopinto, our time in Nicaragua finally came to an end.
As I stated in my last blog, our nursery certification project ended the week prior, and our final week was dedicated solely to our Specialty Coffee
Project. Projects and ideas naturally evolve, and so was the case with this project - we decided to add a few more inventions and went back up North
Tuesday and Wednesday to gather some last-minute data.
We visited two cooperatives - one whose central dry mill failed, and another whose central dry mill has been productive and successful for 15 years. The
key difference? Culture. The majority of producers already perform the wet process on their farms and don’t trust anyone else to do it even though it is
proven to save them 70% of time, reduce water consumption and contamination by over 50%, and provide a quality premium.
I must say, it was much easier to ask the right questions (in Spanish) and get exactly what we were looking for this time around compared to our first
interviews - I don’t think we gave ourselves enough credit for the immense amount of information that we learned in such a short time period. We were very
happy with all of the information we gathered and even got a chance to attend a TechnoServe (TNS) technical training on a farm.
Our final presentation was well received and Ryan was very happy with our final outcome. He thinks they will definitely be able to use the presentation
moving forward and hopefully be able to implement some of our recommendations - in time.
If Nicaragua wants to be competitive in the specialty coffee space, all parties involved (public/private/government) must come together. Nicaragua has the
natural resources, and the story; farmers just need the proper education and willingness to change and adapt. I am confident that TNS will continue to have
an impact and I hope that the work we did will, too.