Agricultural Commodities Broker
10 Years of Experience in the Nicaraguan Agricultural Commodities Market.
If we can not deliver on a request by our clients, suppliers or any other stake holder, we will clearly say no. This is not an easy task , but we are focused on not giving away empty promises.
We are convinced that Nicaragua's extensive small farmer base, is a comparative advantage against competitors like Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
And learn they did, when we started impacting our Chia farmers, they had a yield of about 400 pounds of conventional Chia per acre, three years later, their yield was 800 pounds of high quality organic certified Chía. We certainly did not do this alone, we got "on board" many actors on the Value Chain: Financial Institutions, Certification Agencies, Ministry of Agriculture, Local Government Authorities, and Transportation companies. However, our role was to be the "Director of the Orchestra" amongst all stake holders, so that these small farmers had access to credit , a reasonable cost for their organic certification, access to world class agricultural technology, a fair taxation cost, better roads to get their crop out and efficient logistical costs transporting their goods to our facilities.
We strive to help small organic farmers in Nicaragua. We will work to improve their technical and financial know how, so we can be agents of change in our community , in a way we can improve the quality of life of our growers, and at the same time , build a sustainable business for our partners, one that will trade high value nutraceuticals , with at least 80% of the value added in Nicaragua.
Working closely with our small farmers, we noticed they had a natural tendency to not use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers , but had very poor agricultural extension practices; so with the help of MEDA/IDB/ Technolinks, we started to develop our concept : " An Orchestrated Agricultural Value Chain" for our now in transition farmers. MEDA/IDB/ Technolinks helped us to partially finance our first group of AgriculturalTechnical Agents, who visited our farmers twice a month, at no cost, and helped them hasten their learning curve. Using this grant from Technolinks , we launched our model in 2010.
We are a privately held enterprise and we do not believe that giving " free help" is any help at all. We strive to help our farmers overcome the barrier of inefficiency because of their small size through our Or-Ag- V Chain Model. However, we teach them they are agribusiness men and women, and they have a real accounting exercise, albeit a simple enough one, which we help them set up.
In February 2009, Melvin Somarriba and Ramsés Ortega founded CAC Trading, S.A. a private company in Nicaragua. In the beginning, the company was focused on trading small red beans to the Nostalgic Latino Market in the US, we were also trading high quality cocoa beans to the North American Market. However, from our very humble beginnings, we had our eye on the more valuable and specialized nutraceuticals industry, back then, our very first export order , contained one pallet out of 20, with conventional chia. This marvelous grain was being bought by a very avangarde Health Food Store; remember back in 2009, Chía wasn't as popular as it is now.
In our Model, we give our farmers a Purchase Contract for a set quantity of grain, and a stated minimum price, long before they start planting, this allows for all financial institutions to give them access to credit. As they are properly financed, they have access to timely inputs, are able to pay for technical assistance and for their own organic certification. We ourselves negotiate a group fee for certification costs and are able to get for them lower logistics costs through volume negotiation with truckers. Infrastructure in Nicaraguan Organic growing regions is very poor, so we accumulate our farmers crops in strategic places where they are able to bring their harvest by animal traction buggies and we take it from there.
In the beginning we used in-transition conventional Chía as our lab to develop our Model. We had a lot of missteps , but in the end, results were exceptionally good , especially economic results for our farmers. Two years into the Model, and our In-transition Chía farmers were making five times more money per acre , than they did before we started to impact their local community. However, by 2011 , this success was limited to only 50 families in the Northern region of Nicaragua and we wanted more.
In May 2012, we started rolling out our expansion plan into other crops and areas. Diversification of crops was a must, in order to hedge commercial and climate risks with Chía and Beans (the biggest crop grown amongst our farmers). It has taken almost two years, but our grower's base has grown to more than 700 families, growing Organic Chía, Sesame , Peanuts and Coffee through our Orchestrated Agricultural Value Chain model (Or-Ag-V Chain). We are now able to offer the world, Organic Certified and Kosher grains, but we are not stopping there, we are diligently seeking investors to build a modern oil/flour/butter extraction plant and roasting facility , to add value to our commodities, so we can transfer part of this value added to our growers, we certainly think they deserve it.