- In this forum organized by CATIE, more than 20 experts will analyze the challenges that the region faces to achieve sustainable cocoa production..
August 30, 2023. Some 1,000 public and private stakeholders from the cocoa sector in Latin America and the Caribbean will meet from Wednesday, August 30 to Friday, September 1 in Costa Rica, at the Latin American-Caribbean Cocoa Forum: Challenges and Guidelines for a Modern and Sustainable Cocoa Culture.
The main objective of the event is to exchange knowledge, innovations and best practices to achieve profitable and sustainable cocoa production, thus contributing to national and regional plans for the sector.
The forum, organized by CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), the Korean Cooperation for Food and Agriculture in Latin America (KoLFACI) and the Cocoa Committee of Central America and the Dominican Republic (SICACAO), is being held at the Crowne Plaza Corobicí Hotel in Costa Rica.
The forum is being attended by 135 people from 15 countries and 25 different institutions, in person and 875 virtually.
Muhammad Ibrahim, director general of CATIE, opened the forum. He stressed that cocoa is currently facing significant challenges from environmental, productive and institutional dimensions and it is of utmost importance to review them and propose guidelines to help overcome them.
"We are pleased to have been able to convene this forum that brings together the most relevant actors in the Latin American and Caribbean cocoa sector. I call on you to take advantage of this space to also pay attention to the chocolate industry and what consumers are demanding, since research must seek to respond to these needs," he said.
Ibrahim emphasized that cocoa in agroforestry systems is a noble crop that has allowed CATIE to work on its mission and get closer to the communities of producing families, scientific and technical communities, as well as students.
Julián Arias, viceminister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, said that research and extension are fundamental for cocoa activity to continue to develop. "The MAG extensionists present here are eager to show the work they have done and, of course, to replicate much of what they are going to learn here, in each of the producing farms," said the viceminister.
Lee Kyung-tai, secretary general of KoLFACI, who gave his welcome message virtually, thanked those present for their time and interest and mentioned that the purpose is to share ideas and experiences to seek an opportunity for cooperation in improving the production and development of the cocoa sector.
Albert Sanchez, representative of SICACAO, stressed that for the Committee it is of utmost importance that the results of this forum and the studies that have been carried outreach those who in practice support and need all the knowledge generated by the scientific community and other experienced actors participating in this forum in a digestible and understandable way.
Throughout the forum, 27 presentations will be made by high-level international experts, in addition to group discussions to generate consensus on strategies, best practices and priority actions to strengthen national and regional cocoa plans.
The topics to be addressed at the forum, which represent the challenges of cocoa production in the region, are:
- Genetic improvement of cocoa for resilience and adaptation to climate change.
- Productivity, profitability, risks and management of modern cocoa farming
- Deforestation for cocoa and its risks to European and U.S. markets
- Contamination risks in cocoa (heavy metals) and remediation strategies
- Consolidation of tasting panels, quality standards and geographical indications
- Strengthening the institutional framework and trade associations in the region
As part of this forum, a field tour of CATIE in Turrialba will be held on September 1, which will include a visit to the International Cocoa Collection and a tour of five stations that will cover topics such as crop estimation, micro-fermentation trials, artificial inoculation of monilia and the Gota Blanca experiment, as well as chocolates and derivatives by Nortico Farm and Chuncho cocoa.
Rolando Cerda, main coordinator of the forum and leader of CATIE's Coffee and Cocoa Agroforestry and Genetic Improvement Unit, emphasized that the event is organized within the framework of CATIE's 50th anniversary, so in addition to the field tour, special events will be held on the campus of this pioneer institution in genetic improvement and agroforestry with cocoa.
For more information on the objectives and agenda of the forum, visit here. here..
Agroforestry and Coffee and Cocoa Genetic Improvement Unit
Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication