It is hard to believe that we have already spent half of our time here! By now, we have met with 14 different organizations/entities and this week we spent organizing our ideas and drafting the outline of the presentation focusing on the interventions which we think will benefit the growth of the specialty coffee market. I like working from the TechnoServe office, not just because of the beautiful view of Managua Lake from their backyard (which has a pool!), but most of all the friendly and helpful staff. Another perk - exploring local lunch options with average prices of $2!

While the goal of our research is clear – increasing farmers’ income through higher productivity and better quality of coffee – we need to come up with solutions which are both practical and attainable by TechnoServe. Our initial recommendations on the supply side include more cupping feedback to the farmers, creating capacity in dry mills to process specialty coffee and setting up denomination of origin, which would distinguish geographical regions by characteristics of their coffee (similar to what Colombia has done). On the demand side we are researching how to grow awareness of Nicaragua’s specialty coffee. In general, Nicaraguan coffee is perceived as standard Arabica lacking consistency, but consistency is important for building long-term relationships with the buyers.

To discuss our findings, we met again with Edwin from ACEN, the organization dedicated to promoting specialty coffee. While an institute responsible for coffee research, innovation and marketing would benefit the whole industry, it is evident that such an initiative would require cooperation of private and public sector – an option that isn’t looking feasible in the near future.

For our nurseries certification project we had to follow up with the farmers to ensure they have been conducting interviews with their potential clients and gathering the costs. We also met with our project partners – Danilo and Orlando – to discuss the financial part of the business model. We swapped the office for the coffee shop – La Case Del Café, which is the first place with soy milk I have come across so far. Needless to say I enjoyed my first latte in a month!

The Volunteer

Marzena Loos

Senior Associate, Shareholder Services & Funds Administration

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