In 2021, 170,000 talented Nicaraguans emigrated to the United States, Spain and other countries. The migration of young people from the countryside to the city is a permanent phenomenon. It is motivated by the search for better income, employment and education.
Young people in rural areas of Nicaragua face many challenges. In Matagalpa, cocoa is the main source of income for the population; yet young people cannot find sufficient income on the family farm.
By investing in the capacity of young people, we are making an important contribution to the sustainability of the cocoa value chain. By involving young people in cocoa production, farmers' organisation La Campesina will not only increase its cocoa production, but also maintain and strengthen its commercial link with Colruyt supermarket. By working to diversify products and income for cocoa farmers, we build resilience and prosperity in cocoa communities, with a positive social and environmental impact on the chain.
In Matagalpa, young people often depend on the family farm, but this is not enough to make a living from agriculture. This, together with the political situation and the effects of Covid-19 on the rural economy, are reasons for migration.
In the farming communities close to farmers’ association La Campesina, 45% of young people are unemployed or have no regular source of income, a situation exacerbated by Covid-19. The farmers’ association invests in their training, technical advice, education funds and actively includes them in its professional team. But how to take bolder steps to integrate them into the value chain?
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We are creating employment opportunities with a local model that can involve and empower young people in the cocoa value chain, in partnership with La Campesina and Collibri Foundation, the foundation of Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt. Key activities include
By the end of the project, more young people will be part of the La Campesina team and will find their way into other producer organisations. This change has an impact on the business model, with higher production and higher prices for young (and non-young) producers. In addition, by the end of the project,
At the end of the process, an estimated 150 young people would be supplying La Campesina with cocoa and other food system products.