The Cacao Oro de Nicaragua group was founded in 2014 to develop large-scale, certified cocoa plantations in Nicaragua. With the Company’s farm in the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua entering production, the future goal is to work with the region’s farmers to develop cocoa as a major economic crop for Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast.
Cocoa operations began on the 3,000-hectare farm, located in the municipality of Rosita on the Atlantic coast, and more than 2,000 hectares have been planted. The first crop was harvested in 2017, and total annual production will grow to approximately 4,000 metric tons by 2022. The farm, certified by UTZ, was developed using a full agroforestry model intended to rehabilitate land severely degraded by hurricanes and cattle farming.
We employ more than 285 full-time employees, who live in farm housing and the neighboring communities. Seasonal employment increases to more than 500 workers, which provides support for their broader families throughout the area.
Our operation takes full advantage of Nicaragua’s ideal farming conditions for growing superior cacao, a native crop in Latin America. Nicaragua offers rich affordable land, motivated labor, plentiful rainfall, and ease of export from ports on both the east and west coasts. The country also has strong laws to protect their rainforest lands, while respecting those territories owned by the various indigenous peoples in the country.
Responsible for the operational and strategic development of the Company. He works full time in Nicaragua and has been an investor in the Simplemente Madera and Agroforestal companies with members of the Ponçon Group since 2005. He has an international banking and business background with a B.A. from Lawrence University, USA and masters’ in finance and business administration from Universidad de Cádiz / Formato Educativo, Spain.
Arnold participated as CEO of Simplemente Madera Group for 15 years, including overseeing the groups logging operation on the farm before starting the cocoa plantations. Arnold was highly involved in the early conceptual stages of the project and has a strong understanding of the social and political dynamics. He is currently contributing in the design of the Cocoa Out-grower program.
One of our original founding partners, Clément was a driving force behind the development of Cacao Oro de Nicaragua. We continue to build our business in his memory, as first envisioned by him six years ago. Clément’s influence will remain a constant presence in everything we work towards and accomplish.
Thank you, Clément!
“Everything we do must be good for the planet, good for the country, and good for the people of Nicaragua!”
Clément M. Ponçon
Mr. Glossinger has been involved with Agroforestal and Simplemente Madera Group in Nicaragua as an investor and advisor since 2005. He is responsible for finance, accounting, tax and services for external investors for the Company. He holds marketing and management degrees from the University of Ashland, USA, and holds CFA and CLU designations.
Founding partner of Ecom Nicaragua and member of the global board of ECOM – SMS Sustainable Management Services. Member of the board of directors of World Coffee Research and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge. He holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics and Finance from Cornell University, USA.
Mr. Rojas is the general manager of the La Rosita farm with full responsibility for its operations. He has more than 20 years working as a corporate administrator and accountant with an emphasis in agriculture. Mr. Rojas has degrees in business administration from the Universidad Nacional de Nicaragua, in public accounting and finance from the Universidad de Ciencias Comerciales, and in accounting from the Instituto Técnico Juan de Dios Muñoz, Nicaragua.
Alejandra Navas is Cacao Oro’s administrator with full responsibility for all corporate administrative operations. Alejandra has been with the company since its founding in 2014. Mrs. Navas earned degrees in business administration from the Universidad de Centroamericana, an executive master’s in business management in finance and marketing at the Universidad de Ciencias Comerciales, and post graduate work in project administration at the Universidad Americana, and a specialty in labor law and social security from the Universidad Central de Nicaragua.
The Cacao Oro plantation is designed around a single, 3,000-hectare farm that supports our 2,000 hectares of cocoa production. Cacao Oro has planted more than 2.2 million cocoa trees on the 2,000-hectare La Rosita Farm and more than 250,000 hardwood trees for reforestation under our agroforestry model. Also a permanent nursery under sun shade cover has production capacity of 1,500,000 plants per year.
We have taken full advantage of both our proprietary genetic plant materials and recognized regional cocoa varieties to delivery cocoa beans with fine flavor characteristics in large production volumes.
Cacao Oro has concentrated on new agricultural innovation, proprietary farm technology, and equipment innovation, all of which are required by the farm’s operational scale.
Today’s global chocolate/confectionary industry has well-defined requirements for their supply chains that include: sustainable certification; full operational transparency; traceability; and environmental and social responsibility. Protection of existing rain forest, as well as continual reforestation efforts, are also key. These are Cacao Oro’s starting points as well.
The consumer demand of sustainable cocoa is also impacting the supply chain, with major chocolate producers reaching for a 100% sustainable supply-chain by 2020. ICCO has noted that only between 10% and 12% of total global production is certified as sustainable today.
Cacao Oro’s La Rosita farm has several neighboring indigenous communities that own large tracts of fallow land ideal for agriculture. These land volumes are in excess of 75,000 hectares. Based on planning discussions and small test projects with one indigenous community, we anticipate engaging with these communities to develop their own community farms for growing cacao, coffee, and hardwood trees.
With our nursery at full production, we can provide technical training, resources, farm inputs, and guidance for future sustainable certification. This agroforestry/reforestation model will generate living wages and the desired social benefits for these communities. Benefits can include: improved health care; schools; housing; and improved energy availability. Cacao Oro can provide the necessary access to global markets for their future sales of cacao and coffee. We believe it our responsibility that these elements be incorporated in our initiative called “Cacao Oro Outgrowers Ltd,” or COOL.