Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), SAFE and the Sustainable Food Lab conducted a review of current programs and practices to support youth in coffee growing communities in Latin America.

From the executive summary:

“The issue of sustainability in the coffee sector has been a focus for supply chain investments for many years now. With increasing traceability and transparency, private sector actors are interested in adapting and refining their interventions to reflect the complexities of coffee producing communities. A deeper understanding of the social and environmental networks of coffee farmers brings to light key underlying factors that will affect the future availability of coffee. These factors need to be addressed in tandem with ongoing work around individual farm productivity that often rely on the male head of household. An increasingly important issue affecting the sustainability of coffee is the link between young adults and children in coffee communities today and the availability of coffee in the future. The interest for this topic comes from both the supply and the demand side. On the supply side, young adults are not attracted to stay in agriculture as there are many barriers to their entry and they also have more attractive options for their future. Conversely, on the demand side, there is growing demand for coffee, in particular, higher value specialty coffee. To meet the increasing demand for coffee at a time when many youth are migrating out of coffee communities, it is crucial for members of the sector to find approaches that both motivate youth to choose coffee, and ensure coffee can provide them a stable future.

This report provides an insight into a selection of programs focusing on coffee and youth across four countries in Central and South America: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Colombia. Information was collected from resources and interviews with over 20 organizations representing various segments of the coffee sector: retail brands, roasters, traders, producer groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The intent of this report is to highlight some common concerns, gaps, and opportunities present across the sector, and to provide recommendations for moving forward to address this critical area of sustainability. The encouraging finding of the study is that there are many youth initiatives related to coffee. The private sector is supporting interventions that focus on either making the farm more sustainable and profitable, or on developing new skills for work in the coffee sector. Producer groups and NGOs are also supporting these efforts, as well as working directly with young people on broader social and economic issues, and helping develop their entrepreneurial and life skills.” 

The full report is available for download.

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