In 2010, Sustainable Harvest® helped facilitate the implementation of an organic fertilizer production plant at UCPCO, a coffee cooperative in northwestern Nicaragua. Funds from Green Mountain Coffee brought Colombian Edgar Blandón, the creator of the Gaicashi fertilizer, to UCPCO to conduct intensive, hand-on trainings on how to create fertilizer from organic farm inputs and carry out the production on a large scale. Throughout the year, the cooperative has been hard at work, dedicating time and manpower to construct a plant and begin producing fertilizers.
During a recent trip, Sustainable Harvest® staff had a chance to visit UCPCO and see the plant in action. They were extremely impressed with the organized and comprehensive way the plant is being run. The manager of the plant, Magdiel Montenegro, is a young agronomist with lots of drive and energy–under his direction, the plant is successfully producing rich, organic fertilizer in three different forms: a rich, organic fertilizer dubbed Tierra de Vida, a liquid compost called biol, and a worm compost. UCPCO suppliers its members with the various fertilizers to maximize the health of their coffee crops, and also sells them to other producers in the area. They are currently experimenting with the production of their own organic insecticides and herbicides.
Moreover, the cooperative’s enthusiasm for the project has translated to community improvements outside the plant’s walls. When planning for the fertilizer plant’s water needs, the cooperative incorporated a canal system that improved the access to water for over 80 families in the area. These new canals allowed for the planting of new fruit trees and vegetable plants in the area, increasing the food sovereignty of the community surrounding the plant.