- The workshop was held on October 7 and 8 and was attended by cocoa producers and extension workers, as well as teachers and students from the National University, the Technological Institute and the National Technical University.
October 17, 2022. CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education) received 35 cocoa producers from Upala, Guatuso and Los Chiles in its facilities to exchange knowledge on cocoa and post-harvest management as part of the actions of the extension project of the Consejo Nacional de Rectores (CONARE, its Spanish acronym).
Through the alliance of the five public universities of Costa Rica: Universidad Nacional (UNA, its Spanish acronym, National Universityu), Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR, its Spanish acronym, University of Costa Rica), Universidad Técnica Nacional (UTN, its Spanish acronym, Technical National University), Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED, its Spanish acronym, State distance university) and Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR, its Spanish acronym, Costa Rican Technological Institute), and by means of resources granted by CONARE, an extension project has been developed with the objective of strengthening the innovation and valuation of agri-food products and tourism.
"With the other public universities we have developed a series of activities together with CATIE, trying to support producers in the cantons of Upala, Los Chiles and Guatuso in the development of capacities for the management of cocoa production systems. We are working with them on topics such as agronomic management, phytosanitary management and issues such as quality management of fermentation systems and post-harvest management," said Carlos Hernandez, professor at UNA.
For more than 75 years, CATIE has safeguarded one of the most important international cocoa collections in the world and the only one in the public domain. The Coffee and Cocoa Agro-forestry and Genetic Improvement Unit (UAMGCC, its Spanish acronym) has redoubled its efforts to improve its genetic and physical collection in order to contribute to the protection and conservation of cocoa culture in the region, as well as the distribution and exchange of germplasm of tropical crops.
"We are a reference at regional level, so the fact of supporting and making ourselves known to other institutions that are promoting productive chains is also to do rural extension, to do research, to help the farmer (...); that what we do in research can be transferred to them. It is a way of supporting them," said Adriana Arciniegas, UAMGCC researcher at CATIE.
The workshop was conducted by CATIE researchers, who shared topics such as the historical context of cocoa, disease management and control, productivity improvement, post-harvest and commercial management of production, through the methodology "learning by doing", where practical dynamics, exchange of experiences and working tables were implemented. Among the Center's staff who participated were Rolando Cerda, coordinator of the UAMGCC; Allan Mata and Elsa Hegmann, cocoa specialists; and Luis Diego Jiménez, coordinator of the Forest Seed Bank.
Also present were Gilberto Potoy, from Maleku chocolates; Edwin Sibaja, from El Portal San Luis; and Aldo Sánchez, from Nortico Cacao Farm.
"We have conducted several workshops throughout this year and as a visualization for the future I see an enrichment both in the indigenous community and in the cocoa plantations, since they have strengthened our knowledge," said Rebeca Quirós, a participant from the Maleku indigenous community.
The extension project began this year and will culminate in 2023, incorporating products and activities that have traditionally been of great importance to the territories, in addition to having a short-term impact in terms of productivity, quality and marketing.
"The contribution that being here in these activities gives me is enriching because everything is changing, everything is improving, so today is a wonderful day," said Elías Cruz Quintanilla, a participant from Guatuso.
Adriana Arciniegas Leal
Agro-forestry and genetic improvement unit for coffee and cocoa
Dannia Gamboa Solís
Information Technology and Communication