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Co-op hibiscus


Demand for healthy products has increased consistently over the past decade, both globally and especially in Latin America. The market for herbal extracts and teas shows growth rates exceeding 10% and the ‘superfood’ industry is growing by 7% per year. Moreover, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the social and environmental impact of products, creating more demand for sustainably produced products that benefit smallholder farmers and conserve the environment.

Coop Hibiscus is a co-operative of 63 smallholder producers (60% women), based in the small town of Nandaime in south west Nicaragua. The farmers cultivate hibiscus, which is processed into juice, wine hibiscus concentrate and dried hibiscus, before being sold locally. Globally, hibiscus is known for its antioxidant properties, and in Nicaragua, consumption is seen as a healthy and natural alternative to carbonated drinks or processed juice. 

Coop Hibiscus supports its member farmers by providing financial and technical assistance during the production season, and secures farmers’ livelihoods by guaranteeing to purchase the crop at a competitive price after harvest.

General Manager, Carlos Martínez, said: “We are grateful to Shared Interest for the loan provided. It has allowed us to provide valuable working capital to our hibiscus farmers, improve the agricultural practices, and increase the yields. In the following months, we expect to use these funds to acquire new production equipment aimed to make our prices more competitive, and expand the product diversity selling Hibiscus beverage in addition to the typical dried presentation.”

Shared Interest were introduced to Coop Hibiscus through our involvement in the Access to Capital for Rural Enterprises (ACRE) fund. ACRE was a platform enabling international development organisations to provide technical support and access to small and medium-size enterprises with growth potential. Following this, two individuals from the ACRE syndicate joined Shared Interest to support Coop Hibiscus. 

Hibiscus is a new product for Shared Interest. It is a versatile crop that can be processed into a wide variety of natural products with health benefits, adding substantial value to the commodity. Hibiscus also provides farmers with returns that are significantly higher than other common crops in the region. It is particularly well-suited to the domestic agroclimatic conditions, and tolerates droughts and poor soils, requiring relatively few inputs.

You can read more about Co-op Hibiscus in QR 111.

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