Last week meshed with the prior as we worked through the weekend and headed up north on Sunday. I was able to spend half of Monday with Denis, finalizing the costs for his nursery.

Denis will be producing 40,000 certified plants next year (!). So, what are the costs involved, you ask?

Including both fixed and variable costs, Denis will have the largest financial burden in his first year – approximately $13,000 USD. He has to sell approximately 92,000 plants to break even, which will be achievable in his third year. IPSA will charge $742 to certify the nursery itself, and then an additional two cents per certified plant (costing Denis $1,542 in certifications alone).

Nurseries are widely used (and successful) in other countries, however, there are currently zero certified nurseries in Nicaragua and about 95% of small farmers produce their plants on their farms. The certified nurseries will guarantee specific varieties of coffees, as well their productivity – which is why the certified plants will cost six cordobas (20 cents), almost double the uncertified cost. As you can see, it is imperative that Denis markets his nursery well, as he will need to not only find buyers, but also change the cultural mindset of these farmers. I have faith! Denis is extremely sharp and motivated.

Side note: Denis will be taking out a small loan for the initial investment. And the interest he will be paying? 18% - which is on the lower side for small farmers.

September 15th is Nicaragua’s Independence Day, so both Wednesday and Thursday were national holidays. For weeks leading up to it, streets have been lined with decorations and in the smaller towns you can hear the marching bands practicing until late at night.

We persuaded Ryan to take us to Masaya Volcano, which is only about 25 minutes outside of Managua. The volcano only became active in January however Nicaragua is known for its active and inactive volcanoes (and earthquakes, as we felt one the night prior) which actually make the soil quite nutrient rich, and of course, ideal for growing coffee.

The Volunteer

Tana Megalos

Associate-Internal Advisor Consultant, GWM

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