Eco Alianza, a small producer MSME supported by USAID´s Communities Leading Development (CLD) project exports macadamia nuts to the European market. The company focuses on marketing organic macadamia nuts but also dreams of opening new markets to expand their business, add value to their product, and improve their family and community economy.
The local and European markets mainly consume macadamia as salty snacks, but they are also increasingly being consumed as spreads, cooking oil, skin care creams, and other products.
To help farmers envision new markets CLD organized a learning tour with 15 Eco Alianza farmers, including five women, to the Valhalla organic macadamia farm in San Miguel Dueñas, Sacatepéquez. Participants learned about Valhalla´s macadamia plantation, how their product is processed, and sampled some of the products.
“Today I learned new ways to use the macadamia nut; this learning is important for our community because we did not know that we can also make oils and chocolate-covered treats with the nut. This is opening a new business visualization for us and it opens our eyes to new product and market opportunities.” – Duly Recinos, a member of Eco Alianza.
Valhalla makes high-grade, natural macadamia oil for skin care, dark and white chocolates with nuts, macadamia butter, and flour.
With this activity, USAID continues to build capacity for small farmer-run businesses for marketable value-added products and bring better economic opportunities for families.
“Today farmers are learning new technologies and ways to transform their nuts because they currently only sell the prime material with no transformation process and no added value. These learnings have the potential to expand their business to new levels with more profitable products.” – Adan de León, CLD value chains coordinator.
The initiative nurtures the development of businesses by building local human capacity, allowing small-scale farmers to innovate income-generating opportunities and lead development in their own communities.