Region Autonomo del Caribe Norte, Nicaragua
About the project:
The Región Autónomo de la Costa Caribe Norte (RACCN), or the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, is one of two autonomous regions in Nicaragua. The area has a unique history and culture due to its geographic isolation, and 76% of its land falls under indigenous territory. While once covered in dense forests, the RACCN has come to experience severe land degradation caused by cattle ranching, timber harvesting, and extreme weather. These challenges are further exacerbeted by frequent conflicts between indigenous communities and the non-indigenous local populations who want to occupy and clear their land.
To rehabilitate the land and support the communities who call it home, Initiative 20x20 partner Mirova is providing a $15 million profit-sharing loan to Cacao Oro, a sustainable, UTZ Certified cocoa plantation. This large-scale agroforestry business is working with local farmers and the Awas Tingni Indigenous community to plant cocoa and coffee trees. With this loan, Mirova will help to double the size of Cacao Oro's farm from 2,000 to 4,000 hectares. The project aims to reforest a severely degraded zone and alleviate deforestation pressures from fuelwood. It will also plant hardwood species to eventually create a canopy, protecting soils and improving water retention.
Mirova is also helping to conserve the nearby Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, located northwest of the plantation. Stretching across 20,000 square kilometers, this reserve contains the last of Nicaragua's natural rainforest and is the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere. Cacao Oro's economic opportunity will attract non-indigenous workers in the region, thereby reducing destructive development pressure on the reserve.