Prospering Coffee Farmer Generations


Smallholder farmers represent the majority of worldwide coffee producers who are often referred to as “bottom of the pyramid”. They face low productivity and often struggle to make a living. Lack of income diversity, distance from the market, gender inequalities, environmental degradation, low yields, price volatility and effects of climate change are making the life of coffee farmers unstable. This pushes youth into migrating from rural areas. We put short- and long-term needs of coffee farmer communities at the center of our work.

The average smallholder coffee farmer is 56 years old. But there is more youth in the world than ever before and more will come. This is an opportunity for social and economic progress – also for the coffee sector – which tends to get lost or turns into a problem if life perspectives in coffee regions remain uncertain. The relation between youth migration, rural livelihoods, and coffee production is not yet addressed enough by the coffee sector.

Coffee farmer families need a programmatic approach reaching beyond productivity. At Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung since long we are operating at the bottom of the pyramid where we address coffee as an element of rural livelihood concepts. Our approaches are accompanied by other suitable income-generating activities on- and off-farm to support farmer families to move out of and away from poverty.

HRNS is an implementer of farmer and youth support. Through our experience, we have developed a wealth of knowledge on coffee-based livelihood concepts worldwide. Our approaches are comprehensive but very practical at the same time supporting agricultural practices, farm, and household management, adaptation to climate change, development of farmer organizations, gender equality, intergenerational dialogue and skills enhancement of youth. In addition to coffee, we also emphasize the importance of diversification of production systems as a means of stabilizing cash flows and conserving natural resources. The connection with complementary social and health services, better communication, infrastructure, and transport etc. contribute to raise the attractiveness of rural areas and enable future generations to achieve a perspective and a real alternative to migration.

Only if people are motivated to stay in rural areas and grow coffee as part of their income generating strategies the future supply will be assured.

Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung makes that possible. Read how:

Some Facts About Smallholder Coffee Farmers



Coffee Farmers

Number of coffee farmers worldwide.


Percentage of coffee farmers that are considered as smallholder.


Worlds coffee produced by smallholder coffee farmers (137 million bags).

Source: Enveritas Analysis 2018