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Bolaven Farms

Bolaven Farms Crop Share Training Program

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Bolaven Farms is a fully inte­grated cof­fee busi­ness with a mis­sion of bet­ter­ing the lives of farm­ers on the Bolaven Plateau in south­ern Laos. Bolaven Farms pro­vides a two-year crop-share train­ing pro­gram to 33 agrar­ian fam­i­lies where farm­ers plot 7,500 cof­fee trees and receive on-the-job train­ing, plus a gen­er­ous crop-share of 36 per­cent. Following the com­ple­tion of their first year in the pro­gram, farm­ers buy land and qual­ify to stay on for a sec­ond year, ensur­ing cof­fee seedlings are planted dur­ing the wet season.

Bolaven Farms also serves as the unof­fi­cial coöper­a­tive proces­sor for cof­fee vil­lages. Instead of farm­ers dry­ing cof­fee cher­ries poorly, which results in aver­age tast­ing cof­fee, Bolaven Farms buys cof­fee cher­ries equiv­a­lent to green cof­fee price, essen­tially per­form­ing the task of pro­cess­ing cof­fee free of charge. Bolaven Farms also stands in as the exten­sion agron­o­mist for the vil­lages through­out the year to trans­fer tech­ni­cal know-how and train­ing in best farm­ing practices.

Benefits
Bolaven Farms works with small­holder farm­ers, empow­er­ing their indi­vid­ual rights and pro­vid­ing a path­way to inde­pen­dence. The cof­fee com­pany firmly believes that farm­ers should be rewarded with dig­ni­fied and liv­ing pay­ments for their crops. Bolaven Farms, through its crop-share pro­gram and unique empow­er­ment model, intro­duces proven tech­nolo­gies to improve pro­duc­tiv­ity, eco­nom­ics and over­all well-being for the farm­ing communities.

Readers can help by
To learn more about Bolaven Farms, visit its web­site at www.BolavenFarms.com. Readers can help bol­ster the impact of its crop-share pro­gram by encour­ag­ing their favorite quick-serve restau­rant or fast, casual restau­rant to carry Bolaven Farms cof­fee. Restaurants can con­tact Bolaven Farms through its web­site or by email­ing info@bolavenfarms.com

Project Contact:
Sam Say

Email:
Sam@BolavenFarms.com

Phone:
(852) 2898 0398

Project URL:
www.BolavenFarms.com

Location:
Laos, Bolaven Plateau in south­ern Laos

Project Impact:
By sow­ing seeds of hope, Bolaven Farms pro­vides tan­gi­ble oppor­tu­nity for farm­ers through its crop-share train­ing pro­gram. Through the pro­gram, impov­er­ished farm­ers are pro­vided attain­able avenues to a bet­ter life. Meanwhile, the impact is seen in higher pro­duc­tiv­ity; improved cup qual­ity; and hope for a bet­ter, sus­tain­able future for the mem­bers of the farm­ing communities.

Brewing Change in Tea And Spice Growing Communities

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
When Margarita suf­fered the loss of her hus­band, she had four young chil­dren to pro­vide for and her sea­sonal car­damom crop wasn’t enough to keep her fam­ily afloat. Her fam­ily often didn’t have enough to eat, and they expe­ri­enced health issues as a result.

Margarita then heard about a pro­gram in her com­mu­nity in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, where she could learn about improv­ing her farm­ing skills. She joined and learned how to grow a wider vari­ety of crops and increase her pro­duc­tion. She has now become a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman, able to feed her fam­ily year-round and sell the sur­plus pro­duce for a profit. With her hard work and deter­mi­na­tion, she was able to edu­cate her four chil­dren who are now thriv­ing.  Margarita tells us, “I have become more empow­ered since the pro­gram came here. I have the oppor­tu­nity and right to learn, and to par­tic­i­pate in decision-making processes in my community.”

Benefits
For more than ten years, Mercy Corps and Starbucks’ Tazo Tea have worked together to empower peo­ple like Margarita to trans­form their lives. Together we have reached more than 84,000 peo­ple in India and Guatemala who grow tea ingre­di­ents for a liv­ing with the resources they need to cre­ate last­ing change in their communities.

Many fam­i­lies in tea ori­gin com­mu­ni­ties have scarce access to health care, edu­ca­tion, or finan­cial and busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties. Seasonal crops only pro­vide income to fam­i­lies for part of the year, and dur­ing the off-season they often strug­gle to put food on the table or send their chil­dren to school.

As a part of their approach to eth­i­cal sourc­ing, Starbucks and Tazo have col­lab­o­rated with Mercy Corps to address these issues in a holis­tic way in Guatemala and India. By com­bin­ing health edu­ca­tion, busi­ness train­ing, and youth and women’s empow­er­ment pro­gram­ming, we are help­ing small com­mu­ni­ties move toward a brighter and more suc­cess­ful future. Now youth are learn­ing busi­ness and life skills, moth­ers have access to an emer­gency fund in case they need crit­i­cal care for them­selves or their fam­i­lies, and par­ents like Margarita are able to put food on the table year round and send their chil­dren to school.

Readers can help by
Mercy Corps is a lead­ing global human­i­tar­ian orga­ni­za­tion sav­ing and improv­ing lives in the world’s tough­est places. With a net­work of expe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als in more than 40 coun­tries, we part­ner with local com­mu­ni­ties to put bold ideas into action to help peo­ple recover, over­come hard­ship, and build bet­ter lives. We rely on the sup­port of indi­vid­u­als, foun­da­tions and cor­po­ra­tions to make our work in Guatemala, India, and in other cof­fee and tea grow­ing regions pos­si­ble. Visit www.mercycorps.org/ways-to-help to learn more about how you can get involved. You can also stay con­nected to our work by vis­it­ing mercycorps.org and fol­low­ing us on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter.

Project Contact:
Jenny Keating

Email:
jkeating@mercycorps.org

Project URL:
www.mercycorps.org

Location:
Guatemala, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala and Assam and Darjeeling, India

Project Impact:
84,000 peo­ple, and counting.

Earth’s Choice Women of Coffee Micro Finance

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Fostering eco­nomic growth while ensur­ing nat­ural resource sta­bil­ity is our long-range goal.   Increasing women’s skills and mar­ket access can sta­bi­lize women’s income in cof­fee coun­tries that are neg­a­tively impacted by fluc­tu­at­ing world cof­fee prices, cli­mate change phe­nom­ena (floods, drought, etc.)  and pop­u­la­tion pres­sures.  Building women’s busi­nesses and pro­tect­ing their valu­able cof­fee forests ensures they do not have to aban­don their cof­fee farms for urban areas in search of low-paying work.

Based on the suc­cess­ful Grameen Bank “group loan” model, Earth’s Choice clients have turned their lives around. Group loans are 4 – 5 women of $200 to $1,000.  Earth’s Choice began fundrais­ing in 2012 and cre­ated its first two loan port­fo­lios in Guatemala & Mexico. In Guatemala, the women estab­lished prof­itable small busi­nesses includ­ing a gro­cery store, cloth­ing design shop, bak­ery, phar­macy, pig & poul­try farms, and a butcher shop. In Mexico they expanded their tex­tile fac­tory out­put to increase their exports. The default rate is a low 98%  and each port­fo­lio has grown from between 5 – 8%.  Currently there are pro­grams oper­at­ing in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and Colombia.

Partnerships
Earth’s Choice began its part­ner­ship with Rotary in 2012 and in 2014 signed an MOU with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance’s (IWCA) to begin loan pro­grams with their mem­ber chap­ters to develop micro­fi­nance pro­grams with IWCA’s 18 coun­try chapters.

Benefits
Earth’s Choice’s trans­for­ma­tive solu­tion is to pro­vide:  afford­able loans, skill build­ing, and equi­table access to tech­nolo­gies and health ser­vices.  Understanding “cof­fee cup­ping” can be highly ben­e­fi­cial eco­nom­i­cally. Women typ­i­cally can­not afford “cup­ping” equip­ment or water fil­tra­tion devices to know about the true qual­ity of their cof­fee beans. By under­stand­ing their coffee’s qual­ity, they can price it real­is­ti­cally and this can pos­i­tively impact their income. Earth’s Choice has begun in-country part­ner­ships with local Rotary clubs and clin­ics to extend some vital health care ser­vices like mam­mo­grams and pap smears.

Women in the pro­gram have reported these spe­cific ben­e­fits:
•    Increased incomes,
•    Increased busi­ness skills & finan­cial lit­er­acy,
•    Access to and train­ing with new afford­able tech­nolo­gies: “cup­ping”  equip­ment,   water fil­ters, etc.
•    Access to vital health care ser­vices,
•    Increased under­stand­ing of the value of their cof­fee,
•    Better mar­ket access, prices for their cof­fee,
•    More income to buy food, clothes, and edu­cate their children.

Readers can help by
There are three ways you can help:
1)    Make indi­vid­ual or busi­ness dona­tions on  Paypal link:  www.earthschoice.org/Make-A-Donation/make-a-donation.html
2)    Donate pro­fes­sional ser­vices: writ­ing, edit­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, videog­ra­phy, ITC ser­vices etc.
3)    Donate afford­able, low energy tech­nolo­gies: roaster ovens, water fil­tra­tion, solar bat­ter­ies, etc.

Project Contact:
Roberta Lauretti-Bernhard

Email:
roberta@trackwhatcounts.net

Phone:
619.889.1997

Project URL:
www.facebook.com/womenofcoffee

Project Name:
Earth’s Choice Women of Coffee Microfinance

Location:
Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico

Project Impact:
800 direct stake­hold­ers (women plus their families).

Generations: Building Perspectives for Rural Youth in Trifinio

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Pervasive poverty and a lack of per­spec­tives are only a few of the chal­lenges young peo­ple liv­ing in el Trifinio, the tri-border area between Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, face. While their par­ents have been cof­fee pro­duc­ers for all their lives – a pro­fes­sion handed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion – youth now tend to break with this tra­di­tion in search for more attrac­tive income-generating activ­i­ties by migrat­ing to larger cities or the United States.

Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, Tim Hortons, the Trade Facilitation Office Canada, and the International Coffee Partners, Fundación SES and the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung are team­ing up for the young­sters’ per­spec­tives. Together, we are imple­ment­ing an ini­tia­tive to enhance young people’s abil­i­ties and strengthen their oppor­tu­ni­ties for employ­ment and entre­pre­neur­ship. In el Trifinio, where over 70% of the rural econ­omy depends on cof­fee in one way or another, youths lack pos­si­bil­i­ties to engage them­selves in the local employ­ment market.

Using a peer-to-peer edu­ca­tion method, youth are engaged in acquir­ing skills for employ­a­bil­ity and entre­pre­neur­ship and are guided towards exist­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties within and out­side of the cof­fee value chain.  They develop their indi­vid­ual ‘life plans’ and are con­nected to a net­work of employ­ers, voca­tional insti­tutes and farmer orga­ni­za­tions to con­duct intern­ships and train­ing courses.

Benefits
The project will empower 3,130 youth in cof­fee grow­ing com­mu­ni­ties to help them dis­cover their goals in life and help them to seek fur­ther train­ing. By offer­ing a vari­ety of oppor­tu­ni­ties, youth are offered the chance to exper­i­ment with their tal­ents and develop new skills.  With greater access to employ­ment, edu­ca­tional, or entre­pre­neur­ial oppor­tu­ni­ties young peo­ple will have more rea­son to remain in their com­mu­ni­ties and become dri­vers of the rural economy.

Creating oppor­tu­ni­ties for youth is vital to erad­i­cat­ing poverty in the long run. Encouraging them to try out their ideas and visions and to cre­ate an envi­ron­ment in which they thrive to learn and engage might turn a new leaf for cof­fee pro­duc­tion – one where youth can still hand down cof­fee pro­duc­tion to the next gen­er­a­tion of cof­fee growers.

Readers can help by
Spread the word!

Farmers are aging; cof­fee pro­duc­tion is a risky busi­ness with cli­mate and price fluc­tu­a­tions. This leaves lit­tle incen­tive for youth to con­tinue in cof­fee. How can cof­fee pro­duc­tion be made eco­nom­i­cally more attrac­tive for youth to stay?  Who will be the future lead­ers in the rural com­mu­ni­ties to shape the future of cof­fee?
1–    Modern pro­duc­tion prac­tices and a stronger busi­ness focus need to be intro­duced to add value and change the per­cep­tion towards cof­fee as a busi­ness.
2–    Rural com­mu­ni­ties need holis­tic and strate­gic devel­op­ment plans – cof­fee must be part of an eco­nomic devel­op­ment strat­egy in com­bi­na­tion with other opportunities.

Do you want to sup­port us in giv­ing the young­sters of Central America a viable per­spec­tive? Then please share our mis­sion and pass this mes­sage on!
HRNS on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HRNStiftung
HRNS on Twitter: twitter.com/HRNStiftung
Our Generations-blog: generacioneshrns.wordpress.com/

Project Contact:
Gyde Feddersen

Email:
gyde.feddersen@hrnstiftung.org

Phone:
+49 (0)40808112422

Project URL:
hrnstiftung.org/

Location:
Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador

Project Impact:
3,130 youth will be empow­ered through this project.

Keeping Up in a Competitive Global Market Means Better Life for Coffee Farmers in Indonesia

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Because of its abun­dant rain­fall and fer­tile soil, the Gayo region of Indonesia is glob­ally rec­og­nized for the mar­ket poten­tial of its high-quality Arabica cof­fee. But many farm­ers lack the skills and knowl­edge to grow the quan­tity and qual­ity of cof­fee that would help them keep up in a com­pet­i­tive global market.

While cof­fee coop­er­a­tives are expand­ing to meet the global demand for cof­fee from Gayo, not all are suc­ceed­ing in the inter­na­tional mar­ket­place. Despite increased inter­est, many coop­er­a­tives strug­gle to take full advan­tage of the inter­na­tional mar­ket. Many lack man­age­ment and gov­er­nance skills and have lim­ited capac­ity to pro­vide ser­vices that improve the qual­ity and yield of mem­bers’ coffee.

That’s why Lutheran World Relief (LWR), in part­ner­ship with Fair Trade USA, Progreso, and Rabobank Foundation began work­ing with four cof­fee coop­er­a­tives in the Gayo region. Through this project, LWR is bring­ing our nearly 30 years of expe­ri­ence work­ing with cof­fee pro­duc­ers to Gayo by help­ing farm­ers improve cof­fee qual­ity, increase pro­duc­tiv­ity, improve access to cap­i­tal and become stronger busi­ness part­ners, all lead­ing to a bet­ter life for farm­ing families.

Benefits
Sulastri is a mother of three who sup­ports her fam­ily by grow­ing cof­fee on about 2.5 acres of land in the Gayo region. She’s also a mem­ber of Permata Gayo coöperative.

Through this project, Sulastri and her hus­band have learned to bet­ter care for their cof­fee trees and to use improved agri­cul­tural meth­ods that help them grow a greater yield of higher qual­ity cof­fee. “I learned about prun­ing the trees and cut­ting the branches so sun­light can go inside [and reach more of the plant],” Sulastri says.

LWR facil­i­tated the instal­la­tion of eight wet mill pro­cess­ing facil­i­ties and organic fer­til­izer facil­i­ties and trained about 200 farm­ers to pro­duce their own organic fer­til­izer using over­ripe fruit that is read­ily avail­able on their own farms a much-improved prac­tice com­pared to their tra­di­tional prac­tice of sim­ply using cof­fee pulp and dried leaves as fertilizer.

They’ve learned to reuse the water from cof­fee wash­ing, mix­ing it with palm sugar to speed up the com­post­ing process. Each week the group pro­duces 200–400 kg of organic fertilizer.

To strengthen the orga­ni­za­tional capac­ity of the coop­er­a­tives, LWR pro­vided gov­er­nance and man­age­ment train­ing so coop­er­a­tives can pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices to mem­bers and form stronger rela­tion­ships with lend­ing insti­tu­tions and buyers.

For farm­ers like Sulastri, this work means a great deal. She says, “If we have a good har­vest, cof­fee ful­fills our daily needs.”

Readers can help by
Lutheran World Relief believes that sat­is­fy­ing grow­ing global demand for cof­fee and cocoa and improv­ing the lives of farm­ers can – and should – go hand in hand. Through our Ground Up Initiative, we are actively apply­ing suc­cess­ful project method­olo­gies to improve the lives of small­holder cof­fee and cocoa farm­ers around the world. You can sup­port this work with a dona­tion to LWR at lwr.org, or by fol­low­ing us on Facebook (facebook.com/LuthWorldRelief) or Twitter (twitter.com/LuthWorldRelief).

For com­pa­nies inter­ested in learn­ing more about cof­fee from the Gayo region, we invite you to take part in Temu Kopi — now in its third year — where rep­re­sen­ta­tives from across the Indonesian cof­fee value chain come together for dis­cus­sions on issues of impor­tance to the cof­fee com­mu­nity. For more infor­ma­tion on Temu Kopi, please email temukopi@lwr.org.

Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of small­holder farm­ers and peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emer­gen­cies and for the long term. With the finan­cial sup­port of U.S. Lutherans and other donors, LWR strength­ens com­mu­ni­ties through pro­grams in agri­cul­ture, cli­mate and emer­gency oper­a­tions. LWR works with part­ners, sup­port­ers and tech­ni­cal assis­tance providers to achieve last­ing results.

Project Contact:
Rick Peyser

Email:
rpeyser@lwr.org

Phone:
802−899−8996

Project URL:
programs.lwr.org/gayo

Location:Indonesia, Gayo region of Indonesia

Project Impact:
This project works with 5,270 small-scale cof­fee pro­duc­ers and del­e­gates and will reach 26,350 people.

Opportunity Center

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
The Sun Ministries’ Opportunity Center uti­lizes sewing to bring oppor­tu­nity to peo­ple locked in poverty. Our Sewing Center is a skill-building and employ­ment cen­ter located in the inner city of North St. Louis. We use dis­carded cof­fee bean bags and repur­posed fab­ric to pro­duce fash­ion­able mes­sen­ger bags and purses. Through the pro­duc­tion of these prod­ucts we help sin­gle moth­ers, those recov­er­ing from addic­tion, the home­less, and ex-offenders to learn skills, earn income and break the cycle of poverty.

The project takes in those with seri­ous obsta­cles to self-sufficiency and helps them to earn income, improve skills and over­come the obsta­cles that hold them in poverty. We offer assis­tance in remov­ing out­stand­ing war­rants, obtain­ing G.E.D.’s and driver’s licenses, and mak­ing plans to improve income and edu­ca­tion lev­els to become more self-sufficient.

A sin­gle mom can be trained in var­i­ous aspects of sewing in our pro­gram. We can then sup­ply them with a sewing machine and mate­r­ial so they can work from home. This over­comes the obsta­cle of obtain­ing child­care and opens oppor­tu­nity that would oth­er­wise be unavailable.

Our project takes peo­ple where they are and works with them to achieve their goals. We do not limit our ser­vice to a set num­ber of weeks. We will work with them as long as it takes to over­come their obstacles.

Benefits
We divert around 4000 cof­fee bags and hun­dreds of yards of fab­ric from enter­ing land­fills each year. As we pro­duce these prod­ucts, we teach valu­able skills to our par­tic­i­pants and use the income to over­come obsta­cles in their lives and move them from wel­fare to self-sufficiency.

The women can set up to work at home in some cases, which over­comes the obsta­cle of child­care that keeps so many locked in poverty. By help­ing the moth­ers we also increase oppor­tu­nity for their chil­dren. The skills gained in the Sewing Center can help them to start their own micro-businesses. We assist them in all aspects of busi­ness train­ing and start-up.

We are located in a gen­er­a­tionally poor area. Unemployment in our neigh­bor­hood is esti­mated at between 40–50%. Many that we help are hin­dered by a lack of edu­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion that pre­vents them from obtain­ing employ­ment. Our project helps the hope­lessly trapped to have hope and oppor­tu­nity. By offer­ing a work-at-home option we help young sin­gle moth­ers to become pro­duc­tive income earn­ers and escape the wel­fare cycle.

Readers can help by
Our project relies on prod­uct sales to be suc­cess­ful. We are look­ing for resellers to dis­trib­ute our prod­ucts. We can ben­e­fit from dona­tions of func­tional indus­trial sewing machines. We have many non-working sewing machines and could ben­e­fit from hav­ing some­one with sewing machine repair expe­ri­ence visit us in St. Louis to repair machines. We need to have our staff trained in sewing machine repair and are will­ing to send them to another loca­tion for that train­ing. We can use dona­tions of black thread and rotary cut­ters. Cash dona­tions are always helpful.

Project Contact: Dr. Terry M. Goodwin
Email: terry@sunministries.org
Phone: 636−544−2151
Project URL: sunministries.org
Project Name: Opportunity Center
Location: United States, St. Louis Missouri
Project Impact: Helping many sin­gle moth­ers and dis­ad­van­taged women in the inner city of North St. Louis.

Building Food-Secure Communities in Nicaragua

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
In 2011, with fund­ing from Keurig Green Mountain, we began our part­ner­ship with the coöper­a­tive to help the com­mu­nity build a long-term plan to fight sea­sonal hunger. After our ini­tial plan­ning phase with coop staff and work­shops with mem­bers, SOPPEXCCA estab­lished a Food Security Committee, which over­sees the coop’s strate­gic plan and community-appropriate strate­gies to address “los meses fla­cos” – the “Thin Months” of hunger.

In 2013, we began the sec­ond phase of the project: sup­port­ing the imple­men­ta­tion of food secu­rity strate­gies iden­ti­fied dur­ing the plan­ning process, and estab­lish­ing appro­pri­ate indi­ca­tors, time­lines, and mon­i­tor­ing & eval­u­a­tion pro­to­cols. Key to the coop’s suc­cess will be its abil­ity to mon­i­tor progress, rather than rely­ing on exter­nal part­ners. To this end, we worked together to build a mon­i­tor­ing & eval­u­a­tion sys­tem that coop staff can use to mea­sure progress and iden­tify imped­i­ments to success.

Benefits
A community-based Food Security Committee was estab­lished to over­see all pro­grams and ensure that food secu­rity remains an inte­gral part of SOPPEXCCA’s mission.

SOPPEXCCA also cre­ated a Youth Committee, an eco­log­i­cal school gar­den, and nutri­tion train­ing for youth edu­ca­tion. Our imple­ment­ing part­ner, Pueblo a Pueblo, trained coop staff and a school rep on basic method­ol­ogy, includ­ing gar­den man­age­ment and cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment for the classroom.

We’ve trained 100 pro­ducer fam­i­lies on the impor­tance of healthy food and nutri­tion, food secu­rity, and crop man­age­ment, and we’ve trained SOPPEXCCCA staff to con­duct these food secu­rity workshops.

Last year, 137 fam­i­lies grew 337 acres of beans, rep­re­sent­ing 243% of the orig­i­nal land area goal and 171% of the orig­i­nal goal for the num­ber of fam­i­lies ben­e­fit­ing. SOPPEXCCA con­structed a stor­age facil­ity that can accom­mo­date 300 tons of basic grains, fea­tur­ing 51 metal silos to ensure quality.

More than 100 coop mem­bers are being trained in the cul­ti­va­tion of at least one alter­na­tive crop. A cacao nurs­ery was cre­ated in 2014, with a goal of estab­lish­ing 24,000 cacao plants in 2015. We are devel­op­ing a busi­ness plan with the coop to cre­ate a local farm­ers mar­ket to sell member-family crops.

160 farm plans were devel­oped to improve food secu­rity and sup­port soil and water con­ser­va­tion practices.

Member-farm inte­grated soil and water con­ver­sa­tion prac­tices have been estab­lished, with 7,000 meters of hedgerows planted on 83 farms. Bean seeds were pur­chased to estab­lish cover crops and improve soil fer­til­ity on land with soil fer­til­ity problems.

Readers can help by
This pro­gram is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence for the 670 fam­i­lies work­ing hard to improve their liveli­hoods and put food on their tables, every day of the year. Over the next two years, we’ll con­tinue to part­ner with SOPPEXCCA to help them sus­tain and build on the great strides they’ve made. They’re com­mit­ted and ener­gized, and we’re excited to be a part of it. The coop needs con­tin­ued invest­ment to help them sus­tain and scale this pro­gram up to ben­e­fit more fam­i­lies in Jinotega. Readers can donate to this project online, or by con­tact­ing Janice Nadworny.

Project Contact:
Janice Nadworny

Email:
janice@food4farmers.org

Phone:
802 482‑6868

Project URL:
food4farmers.org

Location:
Nicaragua, SOPPEXCCA Coöperative, Jinotega

Project Impact:
This project will empower the SOPPEXCCA coöperative’s 670 mem­bers to build sus­tain­able, locally man­aged food secu­rity, while diver­si­fy­ing their livelihoods.

Healthy Women Play a Pivotal Role in the Future of Coffee

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Women have always played a crit­i­cal role in the cof­fee­lands. Shouldering nearly 70% of the labor bur­den at ori­gin, they are also instru­men­tal in shap­ing the social and eco­nomic fab­ric of coffee-farming com­mu­ni­ties. And as pro­grams to sup­port gen­der equity take hold, women are primed to play an even more influ­en­tial role in the future of the world’s sup­ply of cof­fee and the sus­tain­abil­ity of the sup­ply chain.

In order for these women to reach their full poten­tial as farm­ers, accoun­tants, man­agers and com­mu­nity and busi­ness lead­ers, they must be healthy.

Grounds for Health is com­mit­ted to help­ing women in the cof­fee­lands max­i­mize their poten­tial by pro­vid­ing life-saving health ser­vices at ori­gin. Specifically, we deliver much-needed screen­ing and treat­ment for cer­vi­cal can­cer, an eas­ily pre­vented dis­ease that kills more women in most devel­op­ing coun­tries than mater­nal causes.

In November 2014, we expanded our geo­graphic reach to Ethiopia. In early 2015, we launched the Roasters Challenge cam­paign, our first fundrais­ing cam­paign backed by the U.S. Government.

With gen­er­ous seed funds from Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans and Bob Fulmer of Royal Coffee, Inc. and fur­ther sup­port by cof­fee com­pa­nies from across the United States, we were able to raise more than $200K by our dead­line, Mother’s Day 2015. A match­ing con­tri­bu­tion from the U.S. Government’s PEPFAR pro­gram, a public-private part­ner­ship focused on reduc­ing deaths from cer­vi­cal and breast can­cer in Latin America and Africa, trans­lated to a total of $400K to help us expand our impact on Ethiopia’s coffee-growing communities.

Benefits
Grounds for Health addresses a crit­i­cal gap in women’s health ser­vices in Ethiopia, where there are approx­i­mately 20 mil­lion women at risk for devel­op­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer and 5,000 pre­ventable deaths expected in 2015. The pro­gram is the first of its kind in the country’s coffee-growing regions and aims to reach women between the ages of 30–49 with screen­ing and treat­ment services.

In part­ner­ship with the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon ini­tia­tive, Grounds for Health is expand­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing and pre­ven­tive ther­apy ser­vices to 19 dis­tricts in Sidama zone as well as other zones in Western Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). The orga­ni­za­tion works closely with the Sidama Coffee Farmers Coöperative Union (SCFCU) as well as the Sidama Zone Health Department and Regional Health Bureau of the SNNPR. The col­lab­o­ra­tive nature of the work is crit­i­cal to ensur­ing ade­quate train­ing of health providers and com­mu­nity health pro­mot­ers and cre­at­ing aware­ness for the pro­gram in order to max­i­mize the num­ber of women screened and treated.

Through this ini­tia­tive, nearly 1,400 women have ben­e­fited from Grounds for Health’s ser­vices in Ethiopia. The pro­gram is well on its way to screen thou­sands more this year and expand to mul­ti­ple dis­trict health cen­ters in the near future.

Readers can help by
There are sev­eral ways to con­tribute to Grounds for Health’s pro­grams in Latin America and Africa.
1. Individuals.
Individuals can donate to Grounds for Health: www.groundsforhealth.org/donate. For those inter­ested in sup­port­ing a spe­cific project, check the box next to “I would like to des­ig­nate this dona­tion to a spe­cific fund” and select the project of choice.

2. Corporate Supporters and/or employ­ees.
We offer many ways to sup­port our pro­grams through work­place giv­ing, cause-marketing and other ini­tia­tives that help com­pa­nies rein­force busi­ness and CSR objec­tives. Please con­tact Pam Kahl, pam@groundsforhealth.org for more information.

Follow Grounds for Health:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groundsforhealth
Twitter: twitter.com/grounds4health

Project Contact:
Pam Kahl

Email:
pam@groundsforhealth.org

Phone:
(802) 876‑7835

Project URL:
groundsforhealth.org/programs/ethiopia/

Location:
Ethiopia, Sidama Zone, Southern Nation and Nationalities Region (SNNPR)

Project Impact:
Delivering life-saving health ser­vices to women liv­ing in rural coffee-growing regions of Ethiopia.

Improving the Lives of Small Farmers in Colombia

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
The pri­mary objec­tive of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) exten­sion ser­vice is to ensure the ongo­ing train­ing and knowl­edge trans­fer to cof­fee grow­ers so essen­tial for boost­ing crop pro­duc­tion and yield qual­ity and for improv­ing the lives of Colombia’s farm­ing families.

Recently, MEAS (Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services) a USAID-funded global project, cited FNC’s Extension Service as a bench­mark for other agri­cul­tural sec­tors in Colombia and the world. MEAS noted that while other mod­els focus almost exclu­sively on tech­ni­cal assis­tance and pro­duc­tion, the FNC model is comprehensive—attending to social aspects, com­mu­nity and asso­cia­tive devel­op­ment and sup­port to families.

In an aver­age year, the FNC Extension Services, which fields 1,500 trained men and women, directly con­tacts cof­fee grow­ers from all over Colombia 1.5 mil­lion times. In addi­tion, FNC stays in close touch with grow­ers through other chan­nels, includ­ing 64 rural radio sta­tions, eight regional news­pa­pers, a national TV pro­gram hosted by the fic­tional char­ac­ter, Professor Yarumo, vir­tual com­mu­ni­ca­tions via cel­lu­lar and e-mail updates, cal­en­dars and mate­ri­als dis­trib­uted nationwide.

In exe­cut­ing the model, an FNC exten­sion agent will be updated with the FNC´s research center’s (Cenicafé) lat­est devel­op­ments through online instruc­tion and in-person train­ing in the Manuel Mejia Foundation edu­ca­tional head­quar­ters, tak­ing advan­tage of Cenicafé instruc­tors and mate­ri­als they pro­duced. Field prac­tices and vis­its to the cen­ter are part of the cur­ricu­lum. Course mate­r­ial cov­ers basic com­put­ing, soils, exten­sion ser­vice meth­ods, cli­mate and cof­fee pro­duc­tion, holis­tic rust man­age­ment, eco­log­i­cal post-harvest pro­cess­ing, and other top­ics rel­e­vant to good agro­nomic practices.

Benefits
FNC Extension Services and grower sup­port, along with FNC’s research cen­ter Cenicafe, are crit­i­cal in pre­serv­ing and pro­tect­ing the qual­ity of Colombian cof­fee and its Denominations of Origin. Extension train­ing ensures a reli­able sup­ply of crops and high– qual­ity prod­uct while expand­ing mar­ket­place access and improv­ing busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties for small farmers.

The inno­v­a­tive tech­nolo­gies, agri­cul­tural prac­tices, sus­tain­abil­ity pro­to­cols and farm man­age­ment skills intro­duced by FNC Extension Services enable grow­ers to oper­ate more cost effi­ciently and become more com­pet­i­tive by sell­ing at higher prices. Also, the FNC´s exten­sion ser­vice helps grow­ers adopt dif­fer­ent pro­grams, such as Colombia´s suc­cess­ful fight against cof­fee leaf rust.    All of this works to advance Colombia’s cof­fee grow­ing fam­i­lies higher up the value chain, enhanc­ing the qual­ity of life for farm­ing fam­i­lies while strength­en­ing and sta­bi­liz­ing com­mu­ni­ties.
FNC agents, who are meant to be friends as well as advi­sors, are com­mit­ted tech­ni­cians who under­stand how to com­mu­ni­cate with pro­duc­ers and inspire trust.  Agents rep­re­sent­ing FNC must be able to trans­fer their knowl­edge effec­tively and in a way that gen­er­ates adop­tion of the rec­om­mended prac­tices; they must be equipped with peo­ple skills and the abil­ity to relate to the cof­fee grow­ers and their families.

The approach taken by the FNC places the focus more on the farm­ers and their fam­i­lies than on the phys­i­cal cof­fee plan­ta­tions. The empha­sis on human and com­mu­nity rural devel­op­ment that char­ac­ter­izes the deliv­ery of Extension Services pro­grams has gen­er­ated trust from the cof­fee grow­ers towards the FNC as a cof­fee institution.

Readers can help by
According to MEAS, almost 75 per­cent of the world’s poor are sub­sis­tence farm­ers, with over 400 mil­lion farm­ers oper­at­ing on less than two hectares of land.  Smallholder agri­cul­tural sys­tems are increas­ingly man­aged by women, under­scor­ing the social impor­tance of agri­cul­ture, which has been iden­ti­fied by the World Bank as “a dri­ver of growth and poverty reduc­tion” in rural areas.

The over­all impact of FNC’s Extension Services is to help alle­vi­ate poverty. Readers can help sus­tain and expand the FNC Extension Services model, which MEAS has called exem­plary, through fund­ing sup­port. With so many ben­e­fits impact­ing the lives of cof­fee grow­ing fam­i­lies, sev­eral cof­fee roast­ers, such as Nespresso and Nestle, have joined the FNC to increase the reach and the depth of Colombia´s suc­cess­ful exten­sion model.  Those brands that believe in the impor­tant role FNC tech­ni­cians play in improv­ing the lives of Colombian cof­fee grow­ers estab­lish coöper­a­tion mod­els and com­mon objec­tives. Also, with the sup­port from Colombia´s national and regional gov­ern­ments, the FNC has been able to increase the num­ber of exten­sion­ists to nearly 1,500 women and men that deliver tech­ni­cal exper­tise to farmers.

Project Contact:
Luis F. Samper

Email:
luisfernando.samper@cafedecolombia.com

Phone:
571 3136631

Project URL:
www.federaciondecafeteros.org/particulares/en/

Location:
Colombia, 22 depart­ments (out of 32) in Colombia, where cof­fee grows

Project Impact:
The Extensionist Service model has impacted more than 400,000 cof­fee grow­ers in Colombia.

Roasters Rock

Categories: 2015, JuneTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

You are pas­sion­ate about cof­fee. You stud­ied every­thing you could study. You called your first cou­ple of jobs in cof­fee your ‘appren­tice­ship’ for start­ing your own busi­ness. You found some seed money. You found a loca­tion. You opened your doors and cre­ated a lit­tle slice of spe­cialty cof­fee heaven in your neighborhood.

If this describes you, con­grat­u­la­tions! You made it to stage 1 of your busi­ness. If you are not here yet, you prob­a­bly will be, so read on to look into the future. But be warned; this arti­cle might tick you off.

This is prob­a­bly not news to those already com­mit­ted to a lease, but to every­one else: News Flash! Passionate cof­fee peo­ple are not by default good busi­ness peo­ple! Passion has on many occa­sions flown in the face of good busi­ness prac­tices. The arti­sanal cof­fee guy / gal does not care about the mun­dane and icky prac­tice of look­ing at the bot­tom line and mak­ing a profit because they have works of art to roast and brew. The busi­ness will just take care of itself! Right?

Unfortunately that is what a lot of small busi­ness peo­ple think, and how they treat their busi­ness. But with a proper amount of ‘evil cap­i­tal­ism’ the com­pany could be set to do some won­der­ful things. But there is some­thing you must do first:

Decide on what you want to be when you grow up.

From hum­ble begin­nings, lit­tle com­pa­nies like Starbucks (SBUX) and Green Mountain (GMCR) had a goal of being big play­ers in busi­ness. It may not have started that way though. There were bat­tles among the inner cir­cles to ‘stay true to the art’ or find a will­ing mar­ket and go big. Either choice is a good one. You need to start think­ing about your choice, because you should make it and be ready to do every­thing pos­si­ble to get where you want to go.

Why not do both? Examples of this work­ing out well are few and far between. Most do not suc­ceed because the busi­ness mod­els are at odds with each other. ‘Big’ wants indus­trial space and man­u­fac­tur­ing lines. ‘Artisanal’ wants a great retail loca­tion and a small batch roaster. They are just two sep­a­rate busi­ness mod­els. There are a few exam­ples of suc­cess­ful ‘small’ scal­ing up: Intelligencia, Stumptown, and Blue Bottle come to mind but none of them are ‘huge’ and yet the Artisanal world ego­tis­ti­cally and jeal­ously call them ‘sell outs.’ Some big guys invest in spe­cialty: Farmer Brothers buys Coffee Bean International, and the same peo­ple whis­per that they are try­ing to be some­thing they are not.

To all those that look at these com­pa­nies and see some­thing other than beau­ti­ful suc­cess sto­ries: Get over your­selves! What do YOU want to be when you grow up? Financially you had bet­ter AT LEAST say that it will fund your retire­ment by 65 or you are just cre­at­ing a job for your­self for the rest of your life. You really should be wear­ing a busi­ness hat from time to time and plan for your exit at the top that sets you and your kids up for life. This requires an arti­sanal skill all its own in the art called busi­ness planning.

So if you made it to stage 1 men­tioned ear­lier, there is a good chance you are now stuck. It is time to get to stage 2: Planned pros­per­ity. This will require you to think dif­fer­ently or get some­one who can do that for you. If you do not already have a part­ner that is the ‘busi­ness mind’ of the com­pany you should get one. A com­mon way to do this is to orga­nize an advi­sory board made up of friends, fam­ily, cus­tomers, and out­siders that care about you and your suc­cess. The only require­ment to be on your board is to give hon­est input and be will­ing to help you achieve the goals once they are set. If they are just there to be ‘yes-men’ then you have the wrong people.

Steps to Stage 2:

1) Get your busi­ness mind to work. You can hire a part­ner, seat a board, retain a con­sul­tant or use some other method to get an out­side viewpoint.

2) Make task one of your panel to help you decide what your com­pany wants to be when it grows up.

a. Pros and cons of going big or stay­ing small.

b. Figure out what suc­cess looks like to you and become com­fort­able with it.

c. Set a finan­cial ‘done’ num­ber so you know when you made it.

3) Use the exper­tise of the advi­sors to design a plan that will get you to ‘done’.

a. Then plan will be spe­cific, account­able and obtainable.

b. The plan will have bench­marks, mile­stones and reviews.

4) Choose to make it happen.

a. Just like you got to stage 1, your tenac­ity, drive and pas­sion should get you to stage 2.

b. If you are not a good project man­ager, peo­ple man­ager, or lack the skills to get any part of the plan done, hire the right peo­ple to do it. (This should be part of plan­ning as well.)

Business is NOT a choice between ‘being true to the art’ and ‘sell­ing out.’ It is a deci­sion to make your com­pany work for you instead of you work­ing for your com­pany. If you believe in the end goal then you are being true to yourself.

Rocky Rhodes is an 18 year cof­fee vet­eran, roaster, and Q-Grader Instructor, and his mis­sion now is to trans­form the cof­fee sup­ply chain and make sweep­ing dif­fer­ences in the lives of those that pro­duce the green cof­fee. Rocky can be reached at rocky@INTLcoffeeConsulting.com

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