This trip will work in partnership with Peacework and the Toledo Cacao Growers’ Association. Based in Punta Gorda, the Toledo Cacao Growers’ Association (TCGA) represents over 600 organic and fair trade certified cacao growers in Southern Belize. The mission of TCGA is to improve the socioeconomic standard of living for its members through competitive and diversified systems of production that incorporate sound ecological practices.
Teams in the past have helped to build drying rack facilities for the community farmers. These facilities are especially important because it allows farmers to start the processing of the cacao beans themselves, therefore achieving over double the income compared to selling raw cacao beans. In Spring 2015, NC State was asked to help with a long term project, the Maya House of Cacao. This is a poverty-reduction initiative that aims to increase employment and household income opportunities by further developing the indigenous cacao industry, encouraging local artisans, sponsoring agricultural research, and promoting eco-tourism. It will serve as a learning center and research facility for the TCGA farmers to preserve cultural traditions surrounding cacao and to develop farming techniques.
Traditionally, teams have lived and worked along side TCGA farmers, visited Mayan ruins, explored the beauty of the coastal reefs, visited the Belize Zoo, and learned about the vast cultural and environmental diversity of Belize.
- Trip dates: March 4-11, 2017
- Location: Punta Gorda, Belize
- Approximate cost: $2,200 – $2,500
- Trip cost covers transportation, housing, and meals