Since 2011 FORTEZA has been working directly with farmers to develop a local fine cocoa production and industry in Puerto Rico. Efforts mainly focused on creating educational workshops for farmers on how to plant cocoa as a means to integrate the crop into their farms and help them diversify their production. In 2017, through hard work and determination, after six years of collaborating, multiple Puerto Rican farmers began commercializing cocoa for the first time in decades.
Recently the project has experienced an extreme threat with the passing of Hurricane María over Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. It has greatly impacted the local economy, population, and environment. This poses a great threat to the projects advances and all those involved can become greatly affected if means are not taken to counter the hurricane’s adverse effects.
Our lesson learned with hurricane María after visiting our partner farms is the importance of a diversified farm with all components of sustainable agriculture. The more diversified and sustainable the farm is, the more resilient it is to all challenges. In order to provide solutions and relief, we have created the Forteza Hurricane Relief Program. Our mission with this project is to contribute to the long-term stabilization of Puerto Rico by completely integrating sustainable agriculture to our business strategy. We will be making a commitment to help diversify our partner farms production with ingredients that can be later incorporated into our products. The program will also be providing counsel and educational workshops on sustainable farming efforts and a clear path towards USDA Organic Certification.
We encourage the global community to collaborate in helping Puerto Rico's farms get back up stronger than ever. Join our efforts here!