A diversified agroforestry system saved a cocoa-producing farm from being wiped out by Hurricanes Iota and Eta in Nicaragua when trees of different species protected the cocoa plants from winds of up to 260 kilometres per hour.
Tininiska means hummingbird in the indigenous Miskito language. In Waslala, a municipality on the Northern Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, 241 kilometres from the capital city, Managua, you will find the "Tininiska" farm – a tribute to the roots of its owner, Doña María Eufemia Woo.
Doña María produces fine cocoa on her diversified farm. Tininiska’ s 7.7-hectare plot of land has cocoa trees combined with musaceous crops, including figs, pigeon peas, guava, citrus, avocado, mamey, apple, rambutan, and nance. You’ll also find wood species such as mahogany, cedar, laurel, almond, and eucalyptus.
It is now mid-November, and we find Maria cutting cocoa, which is something she does every two weeks, "I take out at least 160 pounds of cocoa slime and up to 700-800 pounds per cut," she says. This is despite the 36 hours of rain during the category 5 hurricane Iota, which is the second hurricane to have hit the country in less than 12 days.
To date, it is predicted that many cocoa-producing families in the region will lose 40% of their cocoa crop by 2021 as they are hit hard by the winds.