What Independence Day has to do with Cocoa Farmers in Latin America

“May our barns be filled, with produce of every kind; may our sheep increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields, and may our cattle be heavy with young.” -Psalm 144:13-14a

This week here in the United States we take time off to celebrate Independence Day. Aside from the grilled meats, fireworks displays and patriotic clothing, we take this day — or, for many of us, a long weekend — to reflect on our shared history and national independence.

Our U.S.-based staff will be taking this time to celebrate July 4th, but we will do so with other types of independence in the back of our minds.

At Lutheran World Relief we believe that one of the best ways to ensure financial independence for people in the developing world is to support small-scale farmers. One of our core, historic focuses, we have seen huge strides forward in fighting hunger and poverty when we invest in agriculture.

That’s why we recently released a toolkit to help cocoa farmers in Latin America. We want to share our expertise with as many people as possible! This toolkit provides practical guides on everything from plant maintenance and soil assessment, to post-harvest processing and marketing, so that farmers can get the greatest profit from their crops.

broken open cacao pod
A farmer breaks open a cacao (cocoa) pod. Each pod contains 30 to 50 large seeds (beans), surrounded by a white pulp. The seeds are dried and roasted to produce chocolate.

As part of our lasting promise to help small-scale farmers, we’ll be distributing printed copies of this toolkit to 1,500 farmers in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. It will also be translated into Haitian Creole for use among cocoa farmers in Haiti. But it’s also available for a free download on our website.

We are proud to be able to share the knowledge and expertise in sustainable development that we’ve developed over decades. And as we celebrate our nation’s independence here in the United States, we’re also proud to invest in areas that we believe will create financial and economic independence around the globe!