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Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung

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.

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!
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Project Contact:
Gyde Feddersen


+49 (0)40808112422

Project URL:

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.

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, or by fol­low­ing us on Facebook ( or Twitter (

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

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



Project URL:

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.

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
Phone: 636−544−2151
Project URL:
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.

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


802 482‑6868

Project URL:

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.

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: 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, for more information.

Follow Grounds for Health:

Project Contact:
Pam Kahl


(802) 876‑7835

Project URL:

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.

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


571 3136631

Project URL:

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

The By-product of Crowd Funding

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

With the last arti­cles detail­ing the crowd fund­ing phe­nom­ena, one area that may not be obvi­ous is that the mar­ket is talk­ing.  The mar­ket over the past cou­ple of years has spo­ken about want­ing higher qual­ity cof­fee prod­ucts, espe­cially the kind that can be used at home.  And price hasn’t been an issue with some devices cost­ing over $500.  But you have to won­der: is any­one out­side of the con­sumer listening?

Take Bonaverde for exam­ple: they had not one but three suc­cess­ful crowd fund­ing cam­paigns that raised over $2m dol­lars in fund­ing.  It’s been nearly two years since the first two rounds, and approach­ing one year since the third (and largest) round closed.  But there has been nary a men­tion of a sim­i­lar prod­uct by any estab­lished cof­fee machine pro­ducer, nor another repeat by a crowd fund­ing cam­paign to pro­duce a sim­i­lar machine.

On the other end of the spec­trum you had ZPM Espresso, who raised over $350k in fund­ing for the ini­tial round, and after nearly two years com­pletely imploded.  And thus far, there hasn’t been another prod­uct like the ZPM machine that has come to mar­ket, nor even announced by a com­pany with the means to pro­duce said machine.  And both the ZPM and Bonaverde devices are the basis, the start­ing point, for a good cup of coffee.

But then com­ing into play is the unan­tic­i­pated by-product of a crowd fund­ing cam­paign:  test­ing the waters.  It’s also referred to by other adjec­tives: mar­ket research, con­cept val­i­da­tion, test marketing.

Look at Pebble (the pre-iWatch smart watch).  While they raised an ini­tial round of fund­ing via ven­ture cap­i­tal, ulti­mately they needed a larger infu­sion of cash and turned to crowd fund­ing.  Via Kickstarter, they raised over $10m in fund­ing, and after some devel­op­ment hic­cups, deliv­ered as promised.  But hav­ing estab­lished their prod­uct and their com­pany, they still con­tinue to launch prod­ucts via crowd fund­ing.  Their third gen­er­a­tion watch, Pebble Time, raised over $20m.  If any­thing, Pebble just rede­fined prod­uct launches.  Rather than go down costly devel­op­ment, tra­di­tional PR and mar­ket­ing (includ­ing prod­uct launches) plus sales into brick-and-mortar shops, they’ve essen­tially elim­i­nated a large and costly risk by going direct to con­sumers with their next gen­er­a­tion product.

If the fol­low up Pebble cam­paign had failed, it would have allowed the com­pany to reduce its risk by stop­ping devel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing of its prod­uct.  There is one dif­fer­ence between Pebble and the Bonaverde/ZPM prod­ucts:  Pebble suc­cess­fully deliv­ered on the first cam­paign.  It gave Pebble the insight to not repeat mis­takes on sub­se­quent cam­paigns.  And by using the cam­paign to launch a new prod­uct, they test-marketed their new prod­uct with low risk.   And with iWatch, Pebble now has the 800-pound gorilla in their backyard.

Bringing this back to cof­fee and past cam­paigns, there have been suc­cess­ful val­i­da­tions of con­cepts, rang­ing from grinders to cof­fee tours (and the fund­ing of a cof­fee shop on the cof­fee bean farm.)  Outside of these cam­paigns, there hasn’t been quite the fol­low up by larger com­peti­tors, or even smaller-scale dream­ers look­ing to turn their dreams into real­ity.  In fact, it could be argued that the major­ity of cof­fee crowd fund­ing cam­paigns aren’t pre­sent­ing any­thing unique.  Many of the cam­paigns are solic­it­ing money to open cof­fee houses (mobile or brick and mor­tar) in local com­mu­ni­ties, but aren’t truly doing some­thing that would be defined as a ‘mar­ket dis­rup­tor’ (like ZPM, Bonaverde, or even Pebble.)   For exam­ple, one of the cam­paigns fea­tures a mobile cof­fee truck, with a skate­board theme.  It’ll team up with two estab­lished cof­fee bean providers and use state-of-the-art equip­ment; all while play­ing cool skat­ing videos while you wait for your cof­fee.  They’ve also begun to bot­tle up their cold brew coffee.

The mar­ket will decide ulti­mately, but ven­tures like these are using crowd fund­ing to raise start-up cap­i­tal for a busi­ness that doesn’t truly bring some­thing new to the mar­ket.  These cam­paigns are all over the map in terms of their scope and finan­cial seek.  Many are suc­cess­ful, but aren’t mar­ket dis­rupters.  Again, the mar­ket is speak­ing, but is any­one listening?

By now with ZPM and Bonaverde, you’d expect a large scale, mass mar­ket cof­fee maker to tap into what is essen­tially free mar­ket research, and begin devel­op­ing a machine, whether for the mass mar­ket or higher end audi­ence.  A machine to attract new cus­tomers, while also poten­tially appeal­ing to your exist­ing cus­tomers.  Companies like Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Mr. Coffee, and more.  Yes, they make tra­di­tional cof­fee machines and not the more élite-style brew­ers like Bonavita, Bunn.

If you look at past crowd fund­ing per­for­mance, the mar­ket has clearly spo­ken.  But is any­one listening?

by Brian Wiklem

OCS Survival Strategies">OCS Survival Strategies

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

Margins are shrink­ing, and the cost of doing busi­ness con­tin­ues to increase. Will the Office Coffee indus­try be con­sumed by another ver­ti­cal indus­try? The one-stop-shop prin­ci­ple in office deliv­ery has legit­i­mate cost-saving oppor­tu­ni­ties through increased order size, but often increases deliv­ery cost because con­sumers can pur­chase small orders every day with­out penalty. Operators may require a deliv­ery charge for small orders, or add a ben­e­fit for large orders. Regardless of deliv­ery method or require­ment, the con­sumer will buy what they want when they want it. The pric­ing strat­egy is an impor­tant com­po­nent of the busi­ness plan, and remains a valid tool for success.

BANANAS pro­vide cer­tain health ben­e­fits, and may hold a secret to pric­ing strat­egy. Today many peo­ple will pur­chase bananas from their favorite gro­cery store, or as an impulse buy from a con­ve­nience store. What is the price of bananas today? Perhaps the price is $0.49, 0.59, 0.69, or more per pound. Some peo­ple will know the price of bananas before they buy; most will not know the price, but will buy because this is an item they buy on a reg­u­lar basis. Bananas are not the only prod­uct this pric­ing strat­egy applies to, but pro­vide a clear visual for fluc­tu­a­tion in price.

Consumers become loyal to cer­tain gro­cery stores for many rea­sons. The rea­sons for loy­alty may include con­sis­tently low prices, con­sis­tently high-quality items, loy­alty pro­grams, good/friendly ser­vice or a con­ve­nient loca­tion to name a few. One mis­step in ser­vice by the gro­cery store pushes the con­sumer to other options. These basic ideas par­al­lel why con­sumers pur­chase from Office Coffee Service (OCS) oper­a­tors, and why con­sumers move to other providers.

Some pric­ing strat­egy in the OCS indus­try is based on com­pe­ti­tion, whole­sale, and green cof­fee prices. Responding to whole­sale and green cof­fee prices is pre­dictable, so com­peti­tors know when oper­a­tors increase prices. Raising prices based on whole­sale increase only allows oper­a­tors to main­tain a mar­gin. Perhaps the pric­ing strat­egy should reflect the needs of the OCS. Operators desire growth, and profit through a pric­ing strat­egy pro­vides the medium for growth. Pricing for growth requires a daily strategy.

Many accounts are won and lost because of ser­vice or new prod­uct options. Most cus­tomers are loyal until a mis­step occurs, and do not ana­lyze every price on each deliv­ery. A select few cus­tomers have con­tract pric­ing, and prices must match pur­chase orders. Operators should not base the entire price strat­egy on the select few. Operators need to main­tain a high level of ser­vice and con­ve­nience to keep cus­tomers, and the profit mar­gin dic­tates how many assets are avail­able to sus­tain the service.

The con­cept for price increases is sim­ple. Review the items sold most fre­quently, and cre­ate a strat­egy to increase the price. Raise prices less than 10% no more than twice per year on top sell­ing items with a goal to recap­ture lost mar­gin. Common sense strat­egy moves cof­fee prices in the sum­mer and cold bev­er­ages in the win­ter. The strat­egy is not based on a whole­sale price increases, or cof­fee rust in Brazil, rather the need for more profit to main­tain ser­vice lev­els. What is the price of roll tow­els on Wednesday?

The price strat­egy is the most impor­tant task each day. Operators have seen mar­gins erode from 60% or greater down to upper 30%, or lower 40%. The orig­i­nal mar­gins were not based on greed, rather the need to main­tain equip­ment, and ser­vice. Lower mar­gins com­pro­mise oper­a­tions, and are unsus­tain­able. Occasionally oper­a­tors increase pric­ing across the board on a sin­gle cus­tomer because of the cus­tomer pur­chas­ing habits, or loca­tion. This method increases the pos­si­bil­ity that a cus­tomer will stop pur­chas­ing, and is counter-productive. What is the price of Splenda on Thursday?

Grocery store adver­tise­ments cir­cu­late reg­u­larly, and do not adver­tise increases. The cir­cu­lar explains when the prices are in effect, and when the pric­ing ends. OCS oper­a­tors may employ a sim­i­lar strat­egy to pro­mote new items, or increase sales on items not sell­ing well. Operators are not required to send a let­ter to cus­tomers explain­ing price increases. Some cus­tomers, not the major­ity, may push-back on an increase, and should be addressed indi­vid­u­ally. The push-back is an oppor­tu­nity to become a hero by mov­ing the price back, but should also be used as a sales oppor­tu­nity. Take time to meet with the cus­tomer, and talk about other prod­uct cat­e­gories avail­able includ­ing new cof­fee options. What is the price of tea bags on Friday?

New cus­tomers pre­fer to have a term for price guar­an­tees, which is nego­ti­ated dur­ing the sale. The pric­ing strat­egy should be in effect when the guar­an­tee term ends. Prices should not be sta­tic, because the cost of doing busi­ness con­tin­ues to change. This method is not a dis­hon­est shell game used to trick cus­tomers, rather a jus­ti­fi­able process to main­tain a high level of ser­vice to the con­sumer. The pric­ing strat­egy is an oblig­a­tion to share­hold­ers, and pro­vides an expected return on invest­ment. What is the price of hot choco­late today?

Big Box stores and other com­peti­tors con­tinue to reduce oper­a­tor mar­gins. Consumers desire good ser­vice at fair prices. Operational costs con­tinue to increase. The OCS indus­try is not bul­let­proof, and oper­a­tors should con­tinue to edu­cate them­selves to pro­vide the exper­tise the con­sumer desires. The indus­try will con­tinue to inno­vate, and bring solu­tions to con­sumers expect­ing con­ve­nience and qual­ity. The price strat­egy allows oper­a­tors the finan­cial needs to trans­form the indus­try, and pro­vide the best ser­vice possible.

by Dan Ragan, Pod Pack International, LTD.

Roasters Rock

Categories: 2015, MayTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Where Traditional and Functional Collide

Seo Duk-Sik and Rocky Rhodes - paintAfter enough time in the indus­try, one gets fewer and fewer moments of sur­prise. This was one of those moments. What would you say if you were offered the chance to roast on a char­coal fueled roaster? Of course you say “yes.” Then you quickly fol­low that with, “Huh? How does it work? Is it a drum roaster? How old is it?” The oppor­tu­nity to try some­thing new in roast­ing, even if it is some­thing old, is fun, and you should never pass on the opportunity.

If you find your­self trav­el­ling out­side the US on cof­fee busi­ness you are likely to be offered a tour of cof­fee houses in the area. It is your host’s way of say­ing we are proud of what we do and want to share it with you and the United States. It is a great com­fort to know that every­where in the world there is 3rd wave cof­fee being delivered.

In South Korea, Seoul in par­tic­u­lar, great cof­fee is every­where you turn. The study of cof­fee and imple­men­ta­tion of best prac­tices is on every cor­ner. It is such a vibrant cof­fee scene that ‘really good’ is expected and ‘excel­lent’ is easy to find. So good is the cof­fee that dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion is harder to achieve. A new phe­nom­e­non in cof­fee is at hand which has been dri­ven pri­mar­ily though the Barista pro­fes­sion. Doing some­thing ‘dif­fer­ent’ to get to that excel­lent cup.

These ‘dif­fer­ent’ things include menu pair­ings, new drip­per sys­tems, 1 kilo roast­ers in the shop, roast­ing one cup’s worth of beans over the stove to order, and other really unique things. Some things, how­ever, reach to the past for that differentiation.

In Japan, dif­fer­ent fuels were used in roast­ing cof­fee. One read­ily avail­able source of fuel was char­coal. Fuji Royal built a roaster to use this fuel in a small batch drum roaster. The fla­vor that came from this charcoal-fueled roaster became uniquely asso­ci­ated with Japan.

A Korean cof­fee enthu­si­ast stud­ied roast­ing in Japan and brought that style to Seoul. Seo Duk-Sik has expanded his tal­ent and cof­fee enter­prise and sells a great deal of his cof­fee back to Japan. He started Kaldi cof­fee in Seoul and moved his roast­ing facil­ity out of the city where there was more room for pro­duc­tion and less restric­tions on emis­sions. The fla­vor holds true to this ‘Japanese Style’ of roasting.

Charcoal roasting - paintAfter a tour of the plant and an oppor­tu­nity to run the machine for a cou­ple of roasts, some inter­est­ing dis­cov­er­ies were made. The most impor­tant of which is that there are dif­fer­ent tastes for dif­fer­ent folks. Who is to say what is right or wrong? With this char­coal roaster, tra­di­tion and brisk sales indi­cate that Kaldi is ‘right’ with this style because sales are increas­ing by hold­ing on to the ‘old ways.’ Remember that cof­fee is hun­dreds of years old and ‘Specialty cof­fee’ is only about three decades into its infancy.

The Fuji Royal char­coal roaster is a pretty unique beast. It oper­ates with two air­flow motors; one for roast­ing and one for cool­ing. The chaff col­lec­tor is unique in that it has a water cur­tain that the smoke must flow through before enter­ing the cyclone cham­ber. This is nec­es­sary for a char­coal roaster because embers fly all over the place and are eas­ily sucked into the exhaust. Embers are extin­guished and then the water leav­ing the cyclone is screened and the wet chaff is col­lected. Smoke that remains exits nor­mally through the exhaust pipe.

Traditional and func­tional aspects of the roast­ing are often at odds with each other on this machine. The fire box is stoked with char­coal, ignited by gas, and then the gas is cut off. There is an art and a dis­ci­pline to plac­ing the pieces of char­coal to pro­duce an even heat directly below the drum. During the roast cer­tain pieces are removed or added to increase or decrease the heat. Different ways of intro­duc­ing oxy­gen to the sys­tem also allows flex­i­bil­ity in tem­per­a­ture control.

Airflow through the drum is very low so as not to suck up too many embers. To increase the amount of air flow­ing through the beans it uses a com­pletely per­fo­rated drum that sits directly above the fuel source and all of the heat is pulled through the cof­fee. This pro­duces a lot of radi­ant heat mixed with some con­vec­tive. This would be the oppo­site of more recent drum roaster designs where higher air­flow pro­duces more con­vec­tive heat and the hot steel of the solid drum pro­duces con­tact heat. If you think the fla­vor pro­file would be dif­fer­ent, you would be right!

The low con­vec­tive heat causes a roast to take 20 min­utes or more. Just before the roast comes out Seo Duk-Sik damp­ens the air­flow allow­ing the char­coal smoke to enter the cham­ber and add what is almost a mesquite fla­vor to the beans. The result is a smoky, heavy-bodied, low-acid cof­fee. And it is this pro­file that is the sig­na­ture taste for this kind of roaster.

While watch­ing this process, it would be easy for ‘spe­cialty roast­ers’ of the West to think of about a dozen ways to ‘improve’ the func­tion­al­ity of the machine. But as a good roaster must always do; fig­ure out the out­come you want and then roast to that out­come. If the machine were changed, this tra­di­tional fla­vor would be lost. In this case the machine is per­fectly func­tional for the out­come. And the result­ing cof­fee res­onates with Kaldi’s customers.

Being tra­di­tional is being unique, and unique has found a mar­ket amongst all of the other cof­fee shops.

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

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