“Previously, I did not look at cocoa as a product that yielded economic benefits. Now I understand that with patience and work, cocoa works [for people]. I would like to involve my family more [in cocoa cultivation]; one of my brothers already has a plantation”, said Santos.
The PaSos programme gives farmers tools to thrive and prosper
Santos is a young man who migrated in 2017 to the Marcá Milán area to work on a parcel neighboring his father’s property. Some time later, Santos’s father invited him to come work on his land through a new initiative that Solidaridad was introducing to the area.
Santos Flores Reyes, a 31-year-old family man from the Marcá Milán community in Nicaragua, who believes using sustainable practices in his 496-plant cocoa plantation has completely transformed his life.
“I remember there was talk that they [Solidaridad] were going to provide me with a toolkit. I thought they meant a machete and shovel. Instead, it was a package of documents relating to the agronomic management of cocoa. This is how I began in the project”, said Santos about the first time he attended a Solidaridad farmer field school.
The Sustainable Landscapes Programme (PaSos) is a multi-stakeholder platform that connects different actors to address resource management opportunities at a landscape level.
“I have been in the project for about three years. I have learned everything that has to do with agronomic management in cocoa. That is: pruning, fertilization, rehabilitation, stripping and harvesting”, said Santos, who is now an entrepreneur, making his own organic fertilizer through vermiculture.
Cocoa Barometer 2020
The Cocoa Barometer zooms in on the state of sustainability in the global cocoa sector, outlining the current challenges in cocoa (child labour, deforestation, poverty), as well as the necessary changes to tackle their root causes.
The PaSos programme is a platform for change that matters
The PaSos platform creates spaces for dialogue in which leaders build a shared vision, exchange information and jointly decide on action plans to increase sustainability in their communities. The actors also come together to construct evaluation goals and mechanisms to measure the effectiveness of their implementation. Producers receive monthly training through field schools and technical assistance visits.
“Now I am a promoter and I can provide my knowledge to other producers. I am very happy to be able to help and encourage other producers, knowing that cocoa is beneficial for families. I am eager to continue as a promoter,” added Santos.
Solidaridad promoters are leaders that visit their smallholder producer peers to encourage the use of best practices in their plantations and share other important knowledge — a crucial PaSos initiative that fosters community development.
“In field schools I have learned about crop management. I have participated in experience exchanges, and the project also gave me a scholarship to pursue a diploma in cocoa. It [PaSos] has been a total turnaround in my life,” said Santos.