On an otherwise reasonable evening, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2012 Unreasonable Institute. They came to see 23 ventures present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.
Alejandro Espana shares how his venture Soconusco is utilizing collaboration across sectors & industries to increase quality and production yield of cocoa farmers in Chiapas and Tabasco Mexico by five fold in four years. Soconusco is improving post crop handling of the cocoa by establishing fair trade central buying, fermentation and drying facilities. Producing and marketing finished cocoa by-products and high-end chocolate returning an important part of the profits to the fields.
What is the urgent social or environmental need you’re addressing?
Our first and main interest is to reactivate the local economy the Mexican cocoa production is decreasing at an alarming speed, taking away the sustainability of the communities involved in the crop, because of plagues, mishandling of the fields, lack of basic services, clean water, electricity, education, migration of the young population leaving the fields and their families unattended. Environmentally, farmers have replaced cocoa plantation with cattle, affecting immensely the balance in the areas known for replenishing the water supply of the southern part of the country
What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.
The first step is to launch groups of qualified engineers to the fields to start the education process of the farmers within our project, with the vaccine for Monilia, that we already have, we can increase production by 500% in a 4 year period not including alternate crops of diverse products that coexist with cocoa increasing profits per hectare. Establish a closed circle of the cocoa by-products process from crop to market, making sure the communities receive the benefit of their hard work and bringing sustainability to them in every aspect , there are no middlemen in our project, were also counting on the synergy we can get with the Unreasonable Institute and fellows to help us expand and make sure we can make the solution a comprehensive and permanent one.