- The partnership incentivizes the production of high-quality coffee, direct access to international markets, and fair inclusion of women in the value chain.
- TechnoServe, coffee lead for the MOCCA project, continues to provide training to local, small-scale coffee producers to improve their practices related to production, harvesting, selection, benefits, and overall marketing practices.
Guatemala 2021 | In Guatemala, growing coffee at a high altitude leads to beans with a specific combination of delicious aromas and a delicate, bittersweet body, a combination that creates a final product just as exquisite and balanced as the landscapes where it is grown. With such high-quality products, coffee from Guatemala is in high demand in international markets. However, although it is currently amongst the top 10 coffee exporters in the world, the country’s coffee growers – the majority of whom are small-scale operations – struggle daily against barriers that prevent them improving their productivity and profitability.
In response to these market dynamics, the Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cocoa (MOCCA) program – a five-year initiative funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – recently announced that it is partnering with company Peter Schoenfeld S.A., a member of the Volcafé group based in Guatemala. This partnership will strengthen the capacity of more than 2,000 coffee farmers to boost the quantity and quality of their yields, access quality planting material, finance these improvements under favorable conditions, and to connect with more stable and higher-value markets.
“As in other countries in the region, many (coffee) plantations in Guatemala are aging and therefore have lower yields and greater susceptibility to pests and disease each season. If you add this to the constant pressure of climate change and inadequate financing, growers’ overall maintenance costs tend to be higher than the returns on their production. At the end of the program, we want small coffee farmers in Guatemala to be connected with a stable market and to have reduced their production costs by 40%.” Ryan Bathrick, Director of MOCCA.
Premiums for quality and direct market linkages
Carlos Umanzor, head of Volcafe’s Specialty Coffee department, added that the company directly connects small-scale coffee growers with larger markets willing to pay more for a differentiated, quality product. Volcafe, through its sister companies in the US, Europe, and Asia has a broad portfolio of international clients eager to identify and purchase new cup profiles.
Umanzor emphasized that this partnership has also increased quantity of coffee produced by women, noting, “we have found that as soon as these lots enter the market they are sold almost immediately…and we are encourage more woman producers to join [the initiative].”
Gloria Perez, a farmer and MOCCA participant in Guatemala, states, “[the training] is helping us women to incorporate ourselves into coffee production,” an activity historically dominated by men in the region.
A Sustainable Model
Andrew Hochhalter, a Foreign Trade Specialist for the USDA, commented that this partnership model is of interest because “it directly connects local smallholders to international markets, making [this connection] much longer lasting than duration of a single project.”
He adds “Partners like Volcafe are important because they not only want to invest in improving coffee quality and yields, but also in the systems that make these improvements possible for the future, such as better prices, quality genetic material for planting, and move viable, profitable value chains for small coffee farmers. At USDA, we’re happy to be part of these types of partnerships through programs like MOCCA.”
MOCCA: A five-year initiative funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress Program. It is a implemented by a consortium led by TechnoServe, which is responsible leads all MOCCA activities in coffee.
USDA: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.
VOLCAFE: Founded in 1851, Volcafe operates in the world’s main coffee-producing countries and importing markets. Volcafe Way Farmer Support Organizations (FSOs) provide coffee producers with agronomy and business training year round.
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Please Contact: Giselle Aleman Ayala
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