Our first week was spent in TechnoServe’s Managua office, and was focused on reading existing strategic plans and meeting with various industry experts. Our initial thoughts are focused around access to capital as a means to increasing farm productivity, and volatility mitigation techniques via crop and varietal diversification. Another area of focus will include analyzing the characteristics of existing debt in the industry; any strategic plan will require capital, and identifying opportunities to restructure debt or access new lines of credit will be critical in an effective recommendation.

On Monday we flew to our new home, San Salvador, to begin collecting data and furthering our analysis of the sector. The coffee industry was once the biggest driver of El Salvador’s GDP, and was heavily intertwined with politics. While seated around the same table that was once used to hold meetings to decide El Salvador’s next president, we gained valuable insight from employees of the Coffee Association of El Salvador.

Similar to Managua, San Salvador welcomed us with an incredible amount of thunder and lightning. Though the rain can be a bit unpredictable, it’s the key ingredient that permits coffee plants to grow, and promotes a unique biodiversity in the region (such as the leaf-cutter ants in our hotel lobby seen below).

The Volunteer

Scott Argyres

Associate, FBG-Fund Statistics

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