The nutrient rich volcanic soil of Guatemala’s Western Highlands is ideal for growing some of the world’s finest coffee beans. Yet, small-lot coffee growers are at a disadvantage when it comes to cultivating, grading, and selling these lucrative beans. Coffee is a very unpredictable crop, and a complex value chain means growers face many challenges in getting their product to market.
Growers can sell on the commodity market, but the revenues often barely cover the cost of production. The alternative is to sell on the smaller specialty market where buyers will pay more for a higher quality product. However, this market demands a larger investment in time, effort, and skills. The financial benefits are greater, but most small lot producers either can’t afford or don’t have the skills to consistently produce the high quality beans that specialty buyers seek. USAID’s work in value chain development empowers communities to overcome these challenges by improving agricultural techniques, technical skills, and market opportunities.
The members of PROCAFE all come from farming families that have been growing coffee for generations. Many of their friends and relatives were initially skeptical of these young entrepreneurs and their new learned skills. Angelita, a young mother and coffee producer, remembers with a smile trying to convince her father that changing farming practices will lead to better profits.
"Now my parents are so happy that I have the tools to make a better life for them." - Angelita