Technical and Institutional Development Assistance to NICACENTRO and other Milk Processing and Marketing Cooperatives
FondeAgro is an agricultural development project which was started in 2001 and is due for completion in 2011. Its main goal is to improve the incomes and livelihoods of peasants and small and medium size farmers and their families in the Matagalpa and Jinotega departments of Nicaragua. FondeAgro provides a combination of technical assistance, the development of credit services, institutional strenghtening and agribusiness development in several agricultural commodity chains.In the area of agribusiness development FondeAgro has promoted and facilitated the creation of marketing cooperatives and business development strategies among farmers.
Livestock keeping dominates much of Matagalpa region. The main cooperative effort there is NICACENTRO, a milk marketing cooperative (originally designed as an industrial concern) located in the town of Matiguas, with more than 500 farmer members. NICACENTRO currently runs a network of 7 milk reception and cooling centers located in the region and 2 more are being developed. In line with FondeAgros’ commodity chain approach, addressing the issue of milk marketing is crucial for sustained rural income generation. Cooperatives are playing a key role in creating a reliable framework that encourages Nicaraguan farmers to start business initiatives. Their technical skills in collection, processing and marketing together with institutional and managerial capacity require further strengthening.
The consultancy services focus on improving the functioning of NICACENTRO and other cooperatives in the region through provision of demand-driven technical assistance in the dairy sector and broader institutional development inputs.