By Lucy Valenti, General Director of Nicaragua Tourism and Investment
There are some short-sighted minds that question the construction of the coastal road on the grounds that it will only benefit a few. Many people do not imagine the economic and social benefits that will be generated by the construction of this highway. It has a highly productive potential since it will connect industrial, commercial, tourist and agricultural areas in the nation.
Infrastructure investments of this kind provide fast, safe and profitable returns and promote the economic development of the areas. No society can develop without an efficient road infrastructure in place.
The construction of the Pacífic coastal road confirms a strategic decision to make tourism development a national priority. We have always maintained that this road is vital in promoting tourism investments in an area of the country that has all of the resources to become one of the best sun and beach destinations in the world, especially in the South Pacific region.
This area is currently among the top ten destinations in the world for retirees and is also ranked by the experts amongst the top ten surf destinations in the world!
The first stage of the coastal road lies between San Juan del Sur and Tola. This means more investments and a larger supply of high standard tourism products and services that will raise average tourist spending, provide more jobs and opportunities for Nicaraguans and help lower migration. In addition, it will also bring more tax revenues and money to be reinvested in social programs and education.
In conclusion, the coastal road is strategic for the development of tourism in the coastal areas of the country and deserves the support of all Nicaraguans who want to see our country advance along the path of economic growth and sustainable development.
Managua, Nicaragua; May 08, 2017
Giant retailer Walmart’s Mexico and Central America division is strengthening its footprint in Nicaragua as it just announced new sizable investments worth US$125 million to be executed in the country over the next two years.
During a meeting with a delegation of Banco LAFISE Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega said that the company will bring new investments oriented to commercial and productive activity, in addition to what has been invested over the last five years – over US$200 million.
According to information issued by the company, Walmart plans to invest around US$20 million in 2017 in Nicaragua. Likewise, by 2018 they expect to invest another US$105 million, distributed among new store openings, refurbishments and the construction of a distribution center. Of the total amount to be invested in 2017, US$52 million will be allocated to the construction of a new distribution center while US$17 million will be invested in a new Walmart Supercenter store.
Walmart Centroamérica expects to grow at a rate of 10 percent in 2017 in Central America.
It was a local hiker who noticed, during a backwoods stroll in May 2012, the remains of the body. The victim in question: an 800-year-old cedar tree. Fifty meters tall and with a trunk three meters in circumference, the cedar was one of the crown jewels in Canada’s Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. Now all that remained was a minivan-sized section of its trunk, surrounded by shards of wood and dust, with broken heavy equipment chains lying nearby.
This park is firmly rooted, filled with centuries old Sitka spruce and cedar that impose a towering permanence. These trees are also an integral part of the forest ecosystem: moss and lichen grow on them, mushrooms sprout from the damp bark at their base. Their branches are home to endangered birds like the tiny grey and white marbled murrelet, which scientists presumed regionally extinct until they found a lone bird in the Carmanah.
But lately, these living ecosystems have been disappearing across the province. In the past decade, forest investigators have found themselves fielding cases in which more than 100 trees were stolen at once.
The Carmanah hiker, Colin Hepburn, happened to be a member of the activist group Wilderness Committee. He called Torrance Coste, the protection group’s regional campaigner, who alerted British Columbia Parks and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). A week later, Coste travelled from Victoria to the Carmanah. Coming upon the old growth’s stump was “overwhelming,” he says. He demonstrated its immense size by lying down on it, sitting on it and standing on it in news photos.
The province took the case seriously. The theft was jointly investigated by BC Parks, the RCMP and the province’s Conservation Officer Service, but with no promising leads, the RCMP dropped the case within a few months. BC Parks keeps the file open; Don Closson, the area’s supervisor, says they are waiting to breathe new life into it. But if history is any indication, that isn’t likely to happen: When it comes to the underground world of black market timber, the case of this 800-year-old cedar is just the tip of the iceberg.
Global timber theft has grown into a “rapidly escalating environmental crime wave” according to a 2012 report by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and Interpol, titled Green Carbon, Black Trade. The report estimates that somewhere between 15 to 30 per cent of the global timber trade is conducted through the black market and linked to organized crime outfits that wouldn’t balk at trading weapons or humans. Now with armed “timber cartels” as part of their operation, these groups have identified profit in the immense value of ancient nature.
Every summer, Interpol and the UNEP hold a conference in Nairobi where they convene over issues in international poaching and black market trade. In the past couple of years, the conference has been focused on elephant poaching and timber theft. Wood, says the UNEP, is the new ivory: a natural resource valued for its scarcity and beauty, which takes decades to grow but just moments to destroy.
As I was approaching retirement, and following the 2008/2009 economic decline, I came to the realization that I needed to reduce my exposure to the U.S. stock market. It was at that time I began researching alternative investments such as land, timber and collectibles. However, some of those markets were too costly for the individual investor and others seemed to be run by unscrupulous operators.
Luckily my search led me to Precious Timber. After receiving information, I had conversations with Alex Wilson during which he proffered the story of Precious Timber and Nicaragua. The returns on those investments seemed reasonable, and much more attractive than what the past several years in the market had produced. From my business background I learned the adage, “trust but verify”, and the Discovery Tour provided the opportunity to do just that.
I found the Tour to be highly organized and presented by friendly, hard-working staff who made me feel safe and extremely welcomed. Ken and his family provided tidbits of information that you just wouldn’t get from printed or video information. At the nursery, I was convinced that experimentation with different products and soils would ensure future success of the crops.
My most memorable moment on the Tour happened during our viewing of the coconut plantation. At that point in the Tour I was seriously considering joining the Precious Timber family and I saw this investment as creating generational wealth for my daughter and granddaughter. Through an interpreter, I asked a question about longevity of the coconut trees. The obviously experienced staff member was my age and I doubted that neither he nor I would be around to mentor and care for my coconuts 65 years in the future. Who would carry on his secrets, his efforts, and his work ethic? He pointed with pride to his sons and other relatives. I could see that his family had respect for him and I knew that he would pass on his knowledge. I was hooked! I had found the investment that would provide near-term income and long-term wealth.
What strikes me about Precious Timber is the integrity of Alex, Ken, Kevin and the rest of their hard-working staff. I trust that they are working on my behalf and have my best interests in mind. The entire company is family-oriented and it shows in their hiring practices and in their community projects. I feel I have developed a friendship with them that goes beyond the business aspect.
Today, I have timber, coconuts and coffee as my alternative investments and I couldn’t be happier with the decision, and I’m looking forward to my next trip to Nicaragua. I hope that others find the rationale to participate in the Discovery Tour and in the Precious Timber offerings.
As a recent retiree, I began looking for agricultural investments as a low risk / high return alternative to traditional fixed-income holdings in today’s high stock price – low interest rate environment. After discussing trees with Alex and Ken at the 2013 San Francisco Money show, I embarked on considerable investigation before becoming an investor with Precious Timber in early 2014.
As an ex-engineer, I would not have thought about being a future “farmer”, except for the embedded agricultural, marketing and management expertise I found with PT. I have now made three visits (with wife in 2014, with son/heir in 2015, and recently just me in 2017), and we currently own trees, coconuts and coffee with PT in Nicaragua. We view the coconuts and coffee projects as “agricultural annuities” which should provide part of our retirement income needs for many years to come, with the trees as a longer term “bonus“ investment for ourselves and future generations.
Our dealings with Precious Timber and their entire team have been professional, pleasant, transparent and prompt — which made the investing process quite painless. We chose Precious Timber over several other options and look forward to dealing with them into our old age and our son’s future. In my opinion, supported by 4 years’ history so far, I believe you just can’t find a better group to deal with.
The process of upcycling converts waste into want. In making these garments, coconut husks were upcycled into an odor-resistant, fast drying, Cocotex® yarn. They are then blended with Repreve® recycled plastic bottles polyester yarns to create the perfect performance boardshort fabric that you can wear and enjoy. This reduces the amount of waste in the oceans and in landfills, giving you style you can feel good about.
Climate change has been a great threat to coffee production in the world recently. So Nicaragua is changing its coffee production , it is investing in a disease-resistant variety of coffee to protect its export, reports Manila Bulletin. Coffee is one of Nicaragua’s key export crop.
The variety, according to the report, has a higher level of caffeine, disease resistant, and faster production, even though it has a lower price in the market and is of a lower quality. Without that, the advantage is that it can resist the climate change and will be beneficial to small producers.
Luis Chamorro, who is an executive member of the Mercon Group says this variety of robusta coffee is profitable, has high productivity, low cost of production and a high potential. Mercon group plans to produce the variety on 7,000 hectares in the eastern region of the country.
There is no sleeping in in the city of Leon. Even for those nestled, as I am, behind the sheltering walls of a converted convent – walls thicker than anything built in the intervening three centuries – 7am is wake-up time. That is when a loud siren sounds across the town, rousing any sleepyheads and reminding them that it is time to get up and go to work. A second siren sounds at midday, announcing lunchtime.
It is an odd ritual, redolent of life on a plantation. A local tells me the practice used to be common across Nicaragua. Back when workers were too poor to afford clocks or watches, it ensured everyone got to work on time. Today, the only place it is still practised is in Leon, which seems slightly odd, given that this is Nicaragua’s foremost student city. Perhaps it is the only way they can get students to show up for their morning lectures.
I have never come across a city-wide wake-up call anywhere else in the world, but then, Nicaragua is different. Central America’s poorest country has a lost-in-time feeling, with a laidback pace that has disappeared from most corners of the globe. The country does not feature on many must-visit lists, but it is hoping to change that, aiming to reinvent itself as tourist destination. Given its magnificent natural attractions, from soaring volcanoes and massive lakes to dense jungles and wonderfully preserved colonial cities, it should be an easy sell.
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Vita Coco, the world’s leading brand of coconut water, is exploring a sale of the company that could value it at up to $1 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Vita Coco’s parent company — whose investors include celebrities Madonna and Matthew McConaughey — has hired JP Morgan to advise it on a sale, three sources said. They declined to be identified as the matter is private.
Any sale of U.S.-based Vita Coco would come as traditional fizzy drink sales continue to slow and consumers increasingly turn to healthier drinks like coconut water.
The business could attract interest from beverage companies such as PepsiCo (PEP.N), Coca-Cola (KO.N) or Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS.N), which late last year paid $1.7 billion for anti-oxident drink maker Bai Brands. PepsiCo and Coke are already the No. 2 and 3 producers of coconut water.