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Economic Development for San Martín

Cocoa originated in the Americas and continues to play an important role in local economies. Although Latin America accounts for only about 13% of global production, it is known for fine flavor cocoa beans used in premium and single origin chocolates. Major producing countries in the region include Brazil and Ecuador. Current projects are focused on technology transfer, applied research and professional development opportunities for cocoa scientists.

The Americas Worldwide 


Program Dates:

2011 - 2013



Program Overview:

Within the context of this broader project on rural economic development, WCF is supporting activities specific to cocoa farmers.  Activities included establishing 189 demonstration plots for farmers to learn best practices such as pruning and fertilizer use, and conducting soil tests on 1,027 farms.  Approximately 95% of farmers whose soil was tested adopted the subsequent recommendations for fertilizer application.

Program Objectives:

  • Strengthen producer associations
  • Study soil to improve agricultural practices
  • Support research on disease resistance
  • Maintain international cocoa collections
  • Transfer technology to farmers





Contributors: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Implementing Partners: TechnoServe

WCF is supporting research projects with the Cocoa Research Unit of the University of the West Indies (Trinidad) and CATIE (Costa Rica) to identify disease resistant varieties.  Diseases such as frosty pod rot, witches’ broom, and black pod rot are a major cause of crop losses in the Americas.  In addition, WCF supports maintenance of the international cocoa collection in Costa Rica. 

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