The Los Laureles Estate, run by the Marquez family in Venezuela. Close to the Colombian border in the rough mountains lies the Serrania Perijá valley full of everything nature has to offer. Multi cropping: cacao, coffee, beans and plantain goes hand in hand together in this region. This is an area where the oldest remains of cacao trees in Venezuela are found. Together with the university of Paris, the Marquez family has initiated research on the DNA of different the Guasare cacao varieties grown on separate plantations (estates) in that region. Some plantations showed strands of Criollo DNA in their genetics, while Los Laureles appeared to be an example of classsic Guasare DNA. A nursery is created to retrieve and keep this Guasare DNA by selecting pure genotypes and grafting seedlings for re-planting of this old cacao variety.

In recent decades the region has suffered deforestation from human activities. The Marquez family has also embarked on an initiative to preserve native cocoa varieties and agroforestry systems in the region. A program in which the farmers are incentivesed to plant cedar trees for shade and grow cacao without deforestation.

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