In this day and age, coconuts seem to be, somehow, everything at once. You can buy oil from coconuts—not to be confused with butter from coconuts—and flour and sugar and milk and aminos and vinegar from coconuts. The coconut market is booming.
But the long-term outlook for coconuts? Not as good. In the Caribbean, bacteria that cause lethal yellowing are wiping out coconut trees—a situation so bad that a regional coordinator told Bloomberg, “It’s fair to say that at this pace, the Caribbean is running out of coconuts.” In Cote d’Ivoire and Papua New Guinea, lethal yellowing or a similar disease is threatening plantations specifically set up to safeguard coconut varieties for future generations. These aren’t the biggest coconut producing countries—that would be Indonesia, the Philippines, and India—but they are ominous signs for the rest of the world, especially if coconut diversity is not saved.
And coconut seeds are uniquely difficult to save for posterity. For most other crops, scientists maintain gene banks, usually in seed vaults comprising hundreds of different varieties. If future crop geneticists need to breed wheat resistance to an emerging disease or lettuce optimized to grow in drought, they can draw on the genetic diversity saved in these seeds. It’s a way to combat monoculture and an insurance against a changing world.
Seed vaults, though, are no use to the coconut. “It works fine for all of the temperate crops where the little seed dries down,” says Kenneth Olsen, a professor of plant biology at Washington University. “Coconut has got so much water in it.” (Coconuts seeds are literally the whole coconut.) The only way to bank coconut diversity is a living gene bank—in other worlds, a plantation where coconuts are grown continuously. There are five international coconut gene banks, in Brazil, Indonesia, India, Cote d’Ivoire, and Papua New Guinea. And the last two are threatened by lethal bacteria.
When compared, Costa Rica scores high on level of crime compared to low in Nicaragua
Nicaragua claims to be the safest country in Latin America says a report by the Latin American Herald due to its sophisticated “Containment Wall” public safety strategy.
The report says that Nicaragua’s capital city deputy police chief Fernando Borge told EFE, “We have a comprehensive public safety strategy. It is (due to) the joint effort by all institutions and the National Police, with the population playing a major role.”
Nicaragua’s murder rate dipped to an 11-year low of 7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, the lowest among the Central American countries, according to Borge.
The country’s murder rate is also the second-lowest in Latin America, with Managua being the second-safest capital in the Western Hemisphere, trailing only Ottawa, Canada.
More than half of the calls received by the Emergency Response Service (SEREP) call center concern misdemeanors such as street fights, thefts or traffic accidents, unit head Marco Antonio Lanuza told EFE.
The 70 men and women working at SEREP handle between 6,620 and 8,350 calls a day, with a police response time of between seven and 10 minutes after a call is terminated.
JUNE 13, 2016
Coffee exporters play a crucial role in the coffee supply chain, and yet we hear so little about them. So we spoke to Diana Acosta, a third-generation exporter from Honduras, to find out a little more about her job.
Read on to discover what a coffee exporter does, what their challenges are, and how they make a living even during the off season.
The life of a coffee exporter is hectic. In a nutshell, it’s their job to manage the producers, get the coffee processed, and then ship it, all while trying to get the best price. This means they must also monitor market prices from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed.
So where do they begin? For starters, exporters must establish links with the producers and obtain samples from them; only after this can the coffee be assessed and graded.
However, grading samples isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Once an exporter has received the tasters, they must then go through a strict and lengthy cupping process. This means that the exporter needs to weigh the beans, evaluate their humidity, assess how long the coffee needs to rest, and determine any defects. Phew! And while cupping 20 coffees a day may sound wonderful to us, Diana insists that it can send you a little “coffee loco”.
Once all the coffee samples have been cupped and evaluated, the exporter will give them a quality grade and they will then be stored in line with their grading.
After finding a buyer happy with both the quality and cost of the coffee, the exporter must then prepare the beans for shipping. Throughout the process, they’ll continually cup it to make sure that it still meets the desired standard.
The preparation process has many steps and runs as follows:
Drying: The coffee is washed through the mill and dried for anywhere between 25 and 30 hours, depending on the humidity. Separate mills are used for speciality coffee due to the different quantity of coffee that is being processed.
Cleaning: The beans are then cleaned to remove any remaining coffee cherry flesh.
Sorting: The coffee is sorted by the weight and colour of the beans.
Packaging and storage: The beans are bagged and stored in the right conditions ready for shipping.
Trees are obviously good for the planet. What’s not so clear to most people — governments, NGOs, investors, the public — are their socioeconomic benefits. Trees are essential for the economy, our health and our wellbeing.
Research shows that every $1 invested in restoring degraded land generates an estimated $7–$30 in economic benefits, including improved food production, carbon sequestration and water quality. Yet each year, deforestation and land degradation costs the world $6.3 trillion in lost ecosystem services such as agricultural products, recreational opportunities and clean air — equivalent to 8.3 percent of global GDP in 2016.
Despite these clear costs and benefits, restoration receives only a tiny fraction of the funding it needs. That’s where governments come in.
A new WRI report, “Roots of Prosperity: The Economics and Finance of Restoring Land,” looks at the barriers and opportunities to scale up finance in restoration.
Governments can design policies and strategies that help unlock restoration finance, including:
1. Monetizing environmental and social benefits: Carbon taxes are gaining momentum around the world. This is set to continue as 81 national climate plans (PDF), known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), include some form of carbon pricing. Directing some revenues or proceeds from carbon pricing to climate solutions such as restoration will increase the impact of these prices in tackling climate change.
2. Shifting incentives from land degradation toward restoration: In Costa Rica, for example, the government phased out cattle subsidies in 1991 and began financing restoration through a 3.5 percent tax on fossil fuels. This helped to increase national forest cover from 29 percent in 1991 to 54 percent in 2015 and supported the rise of eco-tourism, which contributes 5.8 percent of national GDP.
Click here to read the rest of this article.
At the international level, digital campaigns will be carried out on platforms and social networks that include the North American market. A 30-second spot will be scheduled in Times Square, New York and Canada.
At the national level, 17 capsules will be developed promoting the most important tourist destinations in the 15 departments and the two regions, as well as 12 digital magazines, production of a biweekly micro news program and the creation of an institutional channel with a TV schedule where Intur’s work on promotion of events and destinations, among other things, will be advertised.
In addition, a 10-minute spot will be presented, promoting Nicaragua as a destination on the airlines United Airlines, Copa and Avianca, and the country will also be promoted as “land of lakes and volcanoes”.
See full press release (in Spanish).
Have I mentioned that I love wood as a building material? If sustainably harvested it provides a strong, beautiful material that can last for centuries and sequester CO2 the whole time. People have built bridges from it forever, but in such exposed circumstances they don’t last forever.
But now there are better wood preservation techniques, and Kris De Decker of No Tech Magazine points us to a lovely new bridge in the Netherlands, purported to be the first wooden bridge in the world that can support the heaviest load class of 60 tons.
Spanning 105 feet and rising more than 50 feet in the air, the structure will serve as a grand entrance to the city of Sneek. The €3.5 million bridge
was commissioned after a 2005 design competition, and is designed by OAK Architects (a collaboration between Achterbosch Architectuur and Onix architects) and constructed by German firm Schaffitzel Holzindustrie. It is made from Accoya Wood, where source-certified sustainable species, including FSC certified wood, is treated by acetylation.
Click here for the complete story.
January 22, 2018 | 7:50pm |
New Yorkers rarely stop to rest. Last year, I diagnosed myself with chronic over-scheduling: 12-hour work days and social events that led to burnout.
The cure: Nicaragua, essentially the wilder little sister of its popular neighbor to the south Costa Rica.
I plotted out 10 days exploring the Central American country’s jungly landscape, peaceful waterways and scenic shores along the Pacific and Atlantic. Its pace was slow, its landscapes jaw-dropping, its locals welcoming.
The nation of 6.5 million — slightly smaller than New York state — has cultural lures, like festivals tinged with native and Spanish traditions. There’s plenty to do without a ton of must-sees, making it ideal for some R&R. Here’s how to recharge in settings from mountains to beaches.
Most visitors pick Granada as their home base. And for good reason: It’s less than an hour from the capital of Managua, where the major airport is located, as well as lakes and volcanoes of interest. Its cobblestone streets are lined with pastel-colored facades that hide lush interior courtyards and intricate tile work. Prime spots to ogle the latter include the trendy Tribal Hotel (from $145), owned by New Yorkers Yvan Cussigh and Jean-Marc Houmard. Its seven rooms book up fast, thanks to an inviting pool with a patterned bottom and photogenically funky decor sourced from Nicaragua and surrounding countries, as well as Turkey, Morocco and Thailand.
*This article is an edited and improved version of an article I posted years ago in The Nicaragua Dispatch. – Paul Tiffer R., Attorney at Law
Nicaragua is receiving more and more foreigners who want to live here for a variety of reasons. For expats, one of the most important steps for moving to Nicaragua is learning how to apply for residency first, to be legal in the country.
Some people have been living in Nicaragua as “tourists” for years and just cross the border to Costa Rica from time to time to obtain extensions of their Tourist Visa. However, Immigration authorities are eager to end this practice and wish to have foreigners obtain residency.
According to Immigration Law (law 761) there are two kinds of residencies:
Permanent: Which is granted for five years. Retirees, Rentiers and Foreign Investor receive this kind of residency. Those who receive it are not required to make a deposit equivalent to a one way ticket to return to their countries.
Provisional: It is granted for one year and for those who receive it is mandatory to make a deposit equivalent to a one way ticket to return to the country of origin. Businessman, workers, missionaries and spouses receive this kind of residency.
The law states there are different ways to apply for residency or sub categories, I will refer to the most common:
1. Residency as Foreign Investor:
Foreign investors can apply for residency if applicants run a business, incorporate a corporation and invest at least $30,000 in Nicaragua in any sector or economic activity.
It is imperative to follow several steps and a Government Appraiser the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce (MIFIC) will confirm the investment by visiting the place where the investment is. Once MIFIC grants an endorsement’s certification for the business, the applicant will be able to apply for a five-year.
The endorsement would cover the shareholders or investor; and the investor’s family members.
Foreign Investments – for residency purposes in Nicaragua – is when foreigners invest their money in properties or goods for business.
A house for vacations is not consider Foreign Investment, unless this house is used for business/rent and is handled by a Corporation.
For further information CLICK HERE:
2. Residency as Businessman:
This option can be considered when applicants cannot invest more than $30,000 stated above. Some companies do not need to invest so much money. A Real Estate Agency for example.
In that case, according the law to obtain the ID of the DGI (Nicaraguan tax and Revenue Office) foreigners have to run a business through a Corporation or Sociedad Anónima.
Applicants receive a Provisional Residency per one year.
3. Residency as a Retiree:
A retiree according the law 694 is a person who receive from abroad a monthly pension from the government (social security administration or any other agency) or from a private company. The monthly pension has to be over $ 600 per month.
4. Residency as Rentier:
Rentier is a person living on income from property or investments. The law states the applicant has to receive $ 750 as a minimum per month. Salaries do not apply in any either cases.
Savings in banks do not apply, unless the applicant receives from his/her bank a letter confirming monthly installments for five years to the owner.
Both sub categories – Retirees and Rentiers – have the same benefits.
The Law “694” states that the minimum age is 45 years old to apply as Retiree or Rentier. There is an exception only for people with a disability pension.
Retirees and Rentiers are not allowed to work in the country.
For further information CLICK HERE.
5. Residency as Employee:
Some companies hire foreigners to work, especially for upper management positions. In that case the company has to provide all legal documents to the application and sign a labor contract with the employee.
The labor contract has to be certified by the Labor Ministry of Nicaragua.
6. Residency as Missionary.
The Immigration law considers missionaries to those who work for a domestic NGO or a foreign NGO, in that case the NGO has to be duly register at Ministerio de Gobernación de Nicaragua (MIGOB). For that purpose, the NGO has to endorse the application and provide all the legal documents – copies – from the organization.
7. Residency as Spouse:
To be able to apply for residency as spouse it is mandatory to prove the foreigner has been married to a Nicaraguan for at least two years or longer at the time of the application. The applicant has to show proof of income; it could be:
The Nicaraguan spouse supports the applicant; in that case the Nicaraguan spouse has to have a job.
The foreigner has a job or business in Nicaragua. In that case he/she has to prove and provide legal documentation of it.
In all cases, the applicants for residency have to be in Nicaragua to submit the application. When they apply, they must provide the following documentation:
1. Birth Certificate.
2. Police Record.
3. Health Certificate.
4. Copies of the Article of Incorporation of the company. (for Foreign Investors)
5. Pension letter (for retirees).
6. Private Income source (for renter).
7. Marriage Certificate. (When applies)
Number 2 and 3 are accepted from the country of origin or can be obtained in Nicaragua. The INTERPOL Certificate is granted in Managua at the INTERPOL Office and the Health Certificate has to be obtained from a public clinic of the government named: “Centro de Salud”.
Documents from the applicant’s country, as birth certificate, have to be legalized first in the country of origin. There are two options:
Apostille, it works for those countries members of The Hague Convention for Public Documents, as USA and Europe.
Authentication, it is mandatory for those countries who are not members of The Hague Convention for Public Documents, as CANADA.
Since there are not Nicaraguan consulates in Canada, Canadians have to authenticate their documents in Canada first – Usually at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa – and then send it to a Nicaraguan Consulate in USA, my advice is to send it to the Nicaraguan Consulate in Washington, D.C.
For further information for Canadians, CLICK HERE.
Once documents are legalized it is mandatory to be translated into Spanish.
It’s also worth noting that police records and health certificates have an expiration date, depending where are issued.
In all the cases or sub categories, an Immigration agent will visit the applicant in his/her house and will interview to some neighbors.
Freelance workers do not qualify for residency, the law do not state this option.
To be able to apply for citizenship is mandatory to be resident first, for four years as minimum. The applicants have to follow a new process. It is not automatic and Nicaragua has the right to deny it.
In Nicaragua, there is no citizenship for investment.
For Foreign Investors, Immigration charges C$ 6,400 (Córdobas).
For Retirees and Rentiers, Immigration charges C$ 5,900 (Córdobas).
For Provisional Residencies, the cost is C$ 3,900 (Córdobas).
It is illegal to offer any tips or bribes to immigration agents.
If you would like to apply for residency, or information regarding other important legal matter, you can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is based in my expertise, working on this topic since 1999. Law and the internal rules of application are subject to change.
Attorney at law