Small holder coffee organizations served by USAID and CRS´s Communities Leading Development (CLD) project are currently struggling to make ends meet and earn a sustainable livelihood, making it difficult to engage the younger generation in being part of the coffee community. This week, as part of CLD´s inclusive value chain strategy, in a joint effort with implementing partner Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), CLD kicked off a three-day Coffee Camp in Antigua Guatemala with 34 young people from nine Micro, Small, and Medium-size Enterprises (MSMEs) in Huehuetenango and San Marcos.
The camp provides an opportunity for youth from coffee-producing areas to be part of a coffee networking and learning community. Youth are immersed in a learning experience on the aspects that make up the global value chain such as climate-smart agriculture, processing, roasting, marketing, and quality. They participate in a series of stations led by industry actors (including UNEX – coffee exporter, coffee shops, baristas, Agronomists experts in climate, and others) to learn about the opportunities beyond farming, offered by the coffee value chain, such as coffee processing and cupping.
CLD will provide youth with follow up training as needed, and the most promising entrepreneurial initiatives will be eligible for seed capital support.
The aim is to guide youth in developing a network of young coffee entrepreneurs and inspire business initiatives that work to unlock youth´s full potential without leaving their communities.
“The camp provides opportunities for the development of relationships amongst youth and with industry actors, to learn about new technologies and find inspiration to explore new business possibilities. Our collaboration and alliances with the private sector boosts intervention impacts and provides great synergies with industry providers, importers, buyers, and cooperatives. Our aim is to provide youth with alternatives to stay in their communities”. – Rafael Merchan, CRS/CLD Economic Development Manager.