My fifth Q&A was with Julio Peralta, President of the Board, Asociacion de Cafes Especiales de Nicaragua.
What are the biggest challenges facing the Nicaragua coffee industry?
Right now there are a lot of financing issues for farmers that will allow them to improve infrastructure and become more efficient in production. We have to really focus on efficiency to have progressive gains in quality. There has to be a financial stability for the farmers in order to make whatever’s necessary to really reach the markets. The country lacks a lot of those programs, and that’s a struggle for the farmers. We need a lot of technology. We need market information. That is what we’re trying to do with the help of organizations that fund certain programs. There’s a Danish corporation and USAID in the past. Also, there are other issues.
What are you doing to help some of these issues?
We’re trying, with these institutions, to make changes to policies that will reflect a more effective…We’re trying to bring all the actors together to make changes, to get the financing, get other organizations to come in and have an effective role in the industry.
What are some common characteristics of Nicaraguan coffee?
As far as the attributes, mainly it’s sweetness with medium acidity. We have medium body, very clean coffees, and there are some micro-zones that really excel with quality. That’s what we’re really trying to identify single origins within the country. Nicaraguan coffee has been, in the past, blended within regions to have a good quality, but we feel there are a lot of work to be done in separating particular regions, like Segovia, like Espeli, Madrisa, for those markets to boost the regions as unique, within the country.