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Our first Sustainability Report

We are proud to inform you on the publication of our first Sustainability Report for CISA Exportadora, our export company in Nicaragua. This report was developed under the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the most widely recognized methodology worldwide for the presentation of sustainable management of organizations.

For over 65 years, the Mercon Group has been committed to the sustainability of the coffee industry to generate long-term value and benefits for everyone in the supply chain. Our 2017 Sustainability Report for CISA Exportadora is an expression of that continuous commitment to incorporate sustainability as part of our corporate culture.

In this report you will get a comprehensive overview of the activities of our organization and how we are proactively making sustainability a transversal priority.

To read our sustainability report click here: http://www.merconcoffeegroup.com/CISASustainabilityReportSummary.pdf 

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Robusta production in Nicaragua: Improving the livelihood of coffee producers

This month, the IFC held a Global Agribusiness Conference in Amsterdam where it invited investors and private companies whose supply chains rely on smallholder farmers. The conference focused on practical solutions to the challenges of building smallholder professionalism and closing yield gaps between commercial operations and smallholder farmers.

Leonardo Morales, our CFO, was a guest speaker at the conference and spoke about Robusta coffee production in Nicaragua and how it is improving the livelihoods of the coffee community of Nueva Guinea in the south Caribbean coast of the country.

Leonardo shared how the Mercon Group is committed to improving the livelihoods of coffee producers by offering a series of services ranging from a sustainable production program, renewal of coffee plantations, technical assistance, certifications, financing, market information, among others. He also elaborated on the positive impact of Robusta in the region including the improvement of economic conditions, health systems, education and local infrastructure.

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Mercapital received financing to support small producers in Nicaragua

On Friday, April 13th, Mercapital, BFP (Banco de Fomento a la Produccion) and the Inter-American Development Bank, got together to make the official public announcement of the financing of U$1 million dollars to Mercapital.

This credit was made through the program “Access to credits in Rural Production Chains” by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with the objective of boosting production of small producers to improve their quality of life through the increase of production of Robusta Coffee in Nueva Guinea. This program will allow them to have access to credits and technical assistance to establish new plantations.

This agreement reaffirms our interest in strengthening communities through the development of sustainable coffee plantations.

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Seeds for Progress receives national award

Recently, Seeds for Progress Foundation received the National Award for Social Responsibility in Education in the category of Scholar Infrastructure given by the Ministry of Education of Nicaragua.

Mr. Duilio Baltodano, the foundation’s vice president, highlighted the importance of the efforts in benefit of education put by public-private organizations.

“Through education, we do not only give growth opportunities to children and the young people of the country, but we also promote the progress of a sustainable economic development, the creation of job opportunities and social harmony” – Mr. Duilio Baltodano

Thanks to the alliances we have made we have been able to enhance the education of more than 6,300 children and 260 teachers of more than 100 rural coffee communities of Nicaragua.

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Making coffee plantations cleaner and safer

Making coffee plantations cleaner and safer for coffee producers and the community is very important to us.

We have partnered with the Nicaraguan Association of Agrichemicals (ANIFODA) to establish a free collaboration program, to train local coffee producers in the correct use and handling of phytosanitary products, and the disposal of empty containers of agrochemicals. This program aims to raise awareness on the dangers of these kinds of waste and promote environmental conservation.

With this agreement, we will benefit over 4,000 coffee producers in the northern regions of Nicaragua, who will receive training on the responsible use of agrichemicals, correct usage of protection equipment, safe manipulation of empty container, among others. Through this alliance, ANIFODA will also place special collection bins in local communities to properly handle and recycle empty containers of agrochemicals.
At Mercon, we are continuously working to improve the quality of life of coffee communities and this is another step towards that direction.

To learn more about the program click here: http://www.anifoda.org.ni/programas-y-proyectos/campo-limpio/

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The Mercon Group hosts its annual Producers’ Event in Nicaragua

CISA Exportadora, member of the Mercon Group, honored more than 3,000 producers during the annual Producers’ Event in Nicaragua. This event was held in the city of Matagalpa, in the northern region of Nicaragua from July 24th to July 27th, 2017. On this occasion, coffee producers were awarded for their hard work during the year and for their vital contributions to the socio-economic development of the country.

The 3,051 producers who attended received more than 1.8 million dollars in prizes. These prizes are given to producers who are committed to producing quality coffee while implementing sustainable practices.

With this event, the Mercon Group also celebrates the closure of the 2016-2017 coffee production cycle of Nicaragua which is estimated to reach a historical production volume of 2.95 million bags, 7 percent more than the last harvest.

Jorge Eslaquit, Regional Commercial Manager of CISA Exportadora shared “We are committed to the sustainability of the coffee industry to generate long-term value and benefits for everyone in the supply chain. We are proud to work hand in hand with producers who stand out for their excellence and commitment, but above all for their desire to bring Nicaragua forward. Today we celebrate the success of the harvest and we reward the efforts of our producer clients”.

During the event, CISA Exportadora showcased the different services provided to producers in Nicaragua including: technical assistance, certifications, financing and market information. It also presented the different sustainable initiatives carried out in the country and its impact in the quality of life of coffee growing communities in the region.  The LIFT program, was among the sustainable initiatives mentioned during the event. This program currently provides technical assistance to over 1,000 producers to increase their productivity while being environmentally friendly.

Other business units of the Mercon group were also present, such as Transplanta, a company that specializes in the production of high quality coffee and forestry nurseries while using sustainable and innovative techniques. This company produced 6.5 million plants in this productive cycle.

 

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Jose Antonio Baltodano, our Chairman, invites investors to explore the potential of Nicaragua

Our Chairman, Mr. Jose Antonio Baltodano, participated as a panelist at the Business Future of the Americas conference which was held in Nicaragua for the first time this year. The purpose of the forum was to discuss the main opportunities and challenges of exploring the economic potential in the Americas and to provide a high-level networking opportunity amongst regional executive’s international business delegations, governmental authorities and thought leaders.

During his lecture, our Chairman, spoke about the successful projects carried out by Mercon Coffee Group in Nicaragua and the advantages of investing in this country. He also invited investors to take advantage of the opportunities in the region. To see Mr. Baltodano’s entire speech click  here.

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Mercon at the Global Specialty Coffee Expo!

As soon as you enter the floor of the Global Specialty Coffee Expo you know that something special is taking place. The differences in cultures, languages and backgrounds dissipate as participants come together to share their passion for coffee. This year, the Expo organized by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) was held in Seattle with a record-breaking success of 14,000 participants.

During the three-day show, attendees had the opportunity to immerse in the world of coffee. Nitrogen infused coffee, coffee beer, coffee makers that resemble a piece of art in any kitchen and new health-conscious options, were some of the fresh trends of the show.

Mercon was present at the Global Specialty Coffee Expo and contributed to the innovative spirit of the event with the launch of Robusta coffee from Nicaragua for export. This was the first time that buyers were offered this variety from Nicaragua, and were very pleased to learn more about our Washed and Natural Robusta coffees. “Robusta from Nicaragua is the most exciting thing I have seen in this year’s show”, shared Joe Bettinger from Global Coffee Trading.

We were very excited to welcome our clients, as well as many other participants, to our booth and share with them the vision of our Group and the amazing products we offer such as our Premium Estates and Coffee Flour. Visitors also had the chance to enjoy our coffee and Norman Ramirez, Quality Manager, guided them to identify the body, flavor as well as other qualities from each cup.

During this event, Luis Alberto Chamorro, Origin Director, also participated as a speaker at the “Financing Sustainability” conference organized by Starbucks, where he explained the importance of working together with coffee producers to increase the productivity of plantations through the right allocation of resources.

Each year, the Global Specialty Coffee Expo gets better and better. In 2017, the event included pathway classes, lectures and meet-and-greet sessions with coffee scientists. The Mercon team took advantage of this educational program, as well as the spaces created to connect with our clients and other potential partners. In short, this was another successful event for the team and a learning experience for all!

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Owner of the Monimbo Farm

Monimbo Coffee, from our Premium Estates to Starbucks Reserve.

We are proud to share that Monimbo, a member of our Premium Estates, has been selected by Starbucks as one of their special reserves.  Starbucks Reserve coffees, are limited editions of the most exceptional coffees Starbucks has to offer.

The word Monimbo comes from the Nahuatl indigenous language which means “close to the water”. The Monimbo farm is located in the northern region of Nicaragua in Matagalpa at an altitude of 1,350 meters above sea level. The Marenco family, has owned the farm for 35 years, since then, they have gain recognition for their visionary coffee farming. The Marenco family is known for their commitment to education and the protection of the environment in their community. They are active donors of the Nicarao School working in collaboration with Seeds for Progress Foundation.

The Monimbo cup is balanced and sweet with notes of brown sugar, apricot and chocolate.

For more information about this product click here!

 

Image: Danilo Marenco Sr, Owner of the Monimbo Farm

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Mercon Coffee Group and Caffè Nero sponsor water project in Jinotega

More than 600 children from five schools in the coffee communities of La Parranda, El Paraíso, Las Nubes and La Esmeralda in Jinotega have access to drinking water and a sanitation system thanks to the support of CISA Exportadora, a company of Mercon Coffee Group and the European style coffee house brand, Caffè Nero.

Before this project, the access to drinking water was a challenge for the community and the schools because of the lack of water treatment systems and safe water storage. Now, thanks to this newly implemented storage and distribution system the children from the schools have access to fresh water at any time.

The project covered the installation of water storage and distribution tanks to supply drinking water to the schools through a gravity flow water system. This project was possible thanks to an investment of U$ 24,150.

“CISA Exportadora, a company of Mercon Coffee Group, is committed to improving the quality of education in the coffee growing communities of Nicaragua. Thanks to our alliance with Caffè Nero, we implemented a project of great social impact through Seeds for Progress Foundation, an organization that has been working with CISA Exportadora for 15 years in the coffee-growing regions” explained Luis Alberto Chamorro, Origins Director of Mercon.

The project will be handed over to the schools, who will receive training on the efficient use of water, as well as for the maintenance of the facilities. Mercon and Caffè Nero thanked the involvement of the Ministry of Education through the directors of the schools benefited by this project.

Caffè Nero supports the LIFT program in the coffee communities of Jinotega, Nicaragua

Caffè Nero has been collaborating for the past year with LIFT, a program of Mercon Coffee Group that helps small producers to increase productivity in an environmentally conscious manner. The main component of this initiative is to provide technical assistance to coffee producers through CISA Exportadora. In La Esmeralda, 71 small coffee growers participate in LIFT.