As you hopefully know by now, I spent a week in the Trifinio region of Central America with our partner, Coffee Kids. While there, we got the opportunity to connect with 20+ youth coffee farmers and their mentors! On our first day we caravanned to UNIOCAFE, a local farmer organization that helps implement the vision of improving the livelihoods for coffee producers in the region. UNIOCAFE has the important role of mentoring young coffee farmers.
After brief introductions we learned how and why these youth have decided to stay involved in the coffee industry. Unfortunately, a lot of families encourage their kids to move to larger Central American cities to pursue higher paying jobs; however, in the Trifinio region the coffee sector accounts for approximately 70% of family earnings. As farmers age and the impacts of climate change increase, the quality of coffee decreases. Therefore, it’s important now more than ever to reinvest in the coffee sector through funding and education of youth farmers.
It was so rewarding to learn more about how Cameron’s Coffee’s contribution to Coffee Kids impacts the Trifinio region. UNIOCAFE & Coffee Kids have taken tremendous strides since their partnership began in 2015. To date, 550 youth have participated in the program and 140 have established their own businesses with the help of donors like Cameron’s. Beyond educating and mentoring, UNIOCAFE also has their own coffee bean drying co-op. This is very important for the livelihoods of these young coffee farmers as often the middleman can take profit away from the farmers, UNIOCAFE will act as this middleman enabling fair pricing and helping the youth with the drying part of the supply chain.
Besides visiting the youth’s farms, my other favorite part of the trip was partaking in a cupping that the youth put on. If I just lost you with the term “cupping”, read more about what a cupping is here. During the cupping, I was able to taste some of the coffee that some of the youth and their parents’ farms have produced. I was also able to try my first honey processed and natural dried coffee!
Thanks for following along on my country of origin trip! Be sure to check back for part 3 of my recap!