Resilient Coffee in Central America

Speeches Shim

In order to create a more robust and resilient coffee sector in the Central America countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, USAID partners with Texas A&M University to help 25,000 smallholder coffee farmers be better prepared to face diseases such as coffee rust and to open doors to greater economic opportunities. 

Over the last several years, coffee farmers have suffered crop losses due to disease and climate variation. Coffee leaf rust affected about half the coffee acreage in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and caused damage in excess of $1 billion in 2013 alone.

The Resilient Coffee in Central America project helps farmers improve crop management and processing and adopt disease and climate resilient coffee varieties. At the same time, the project helps improve product quality and link farmers to markets.  To increase livelihoods for coffee producing families, USAID promotes new economic opportunities, particularly for women and youth, including plant nursery management, coffee milling, energy generation, marketing, cupping and retail occupations, such as baristas. This way, Salvadoran families can create better lives at home, thus reducing the risk of illegal immigration to the United States.

Through collaborative research with producers, technicians, and coffee experts, such as the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, the project tests and identifies coffee varieties resistant to coffee rust and establishes demonstrative plots, where farmers can observe the performance of the different coffee varieties in actual field conditions. Plant nurseries with high quality control standards will make these new varieties available to coffee growers. 

The project establishes partnerships with cooperatives and associations of coffee producers, private firms, NGOs, and coffee institutions to replicate and disseminate the knowledge and technologies learned in the demonstration plots to more farmers.
For example, through a partnership with the CAPUCAS Cooperative in Honduras, the project established a training center for coffee producers on the cultivation of resilient coffee, the efficient management of natural resources and farm diversification.  In Guatemala, a partnership with Agropecuaria Popoyan, a producer of hybrid seedlings and new varieties certified for purity, provides training on appropriate cultivation with hybrids.

Finally, the project will improve access to financing for small producers that wish to adopt climate smart approaches, using resistant varieties and improved, innovative coffee processing techniques, for production and marketing and long-term investments. In addition, the project promotes financing for new agri-businesses that will generate greater incomes and employment in the coffee sector.



Issuing Country 
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 2:45pm