|Case Studies of Neem Processing Projects Assisted by GTZ in Kenya, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Nicaragua (GTZ, 2000, 152 p.)|
|4. Case studies of small-scale semi-industrial neem processing in Kenya, Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua|
|4.4 Small-scale commercial neem production in Nicaragua|
As in many Latin American countries, the neem tree has been introduced only recently in Nicaragua.
In Nicaragua activities on planting, awareness and promotion started in 1983. The Forestry Department started to plant neem trees for timber usage on small plots and investigated the performance of neem under the local growing conditions (Gruber 1991). These trees formed the source of neem seeds for subsequent planting and processing activities. During the time of the Sandinistas the Forestry Department closely cooperated with a range of NGOs such as "Proyeto Insecticidas Botanicos Nim" and "Copinim", which were promoting the planting of neem trees in plantations (of 3 ha - 200 ha), agro-forestry systems and in and around pastures and in villages (Mandellaub 1992, Sanchez & Gruber 1996).
In 1994 about 500 000 trees could be found in Nicaragua, and in 2000 the total number is estimated to be about 2 million fruit bearing trees. Seminars and field days have been held by NGOs to promote the use of home-made neem kernel water extracts and demonstration plots have been established in the farmers' fields. Neem has mainly been used on maize, brassicas and watermelon. The German foundation "Umverteilen" and other NGOs from abroad supported the promotion of neem usage in Nicaragua.
In a second phase processing units for neem fruits where were set up with the aim of obtaining consistently high quality neem kernels and storing them appropriately. One feature of Nicaraguan neem manufacture is that it is mainly based on neem plantations which enable better and controlled harvesting of neem fruits/seeds. Interesting experiments have been conducted to optimise harvesting and processing methods. Research has been carried out on the potential usage of neem within Nicaraguan agriculture, supported by a GTZ/IPM project (Hellpap & Mercado 1986).
Later processing units were established to produce standardised, registered neem products such as ground neem seeds, formulated neem oil, neem cake and alcoholic extract. Further products for veterinary uses were manufactured.
Source: C. Hellpap, personal communication