We started our week with three days of training for our nursery certification project in Ocotal. We continued our business model training, started evaluating costs, and spent one day visiting two of the nurseries.

The “El Horno” community is up an unmarked dirt road off of the highway and is home to approximately 38 families. We visited Rudy and Ever’s nurseries (not currently certified) and Juan, the IPSA representative, pointed out areas of improvement as well as characteristics that would prevent them from meeting IPSA protocol and getting certified. I loved the opportunity to see where they lived and we were of course, so warmly welcomed.

Thursday and Friday were spent in Managua, working on our Specialty Coffee Project. Our basis is this: We need to increase the production of specialty coffee here in Nicaragua, as well as increase the capture of the premium for producers. That being said, we’ve identified four interventions, two on the supply side and two on the demand side that we will focus on:

1. Varieties (Supply) – buyers are beginning to specifically demand certain varieties of coffee. Ninety five percent of Nicaraguan producers have their own nurseries, resulting in limited varieties (and at times, confusion as to what variety they truly have). Our nursery certification project will assist with the introduction of higher quality varieties, with guaranteed higher production.

2. Central Dry Mill (Supply) – the majority of small producers sell wet parchment and the coffee still needs to be dried, often by a third party, leaving the farmers with the LEAST amount of negotiating power in price. A central dry mill will assist with consistency of quality, less labor, and farmers will get paid sooner.

3. Cupping Process (Demand) – small producers often do not know the quality of their coffee, so they may be selling under market value. Implementing cupping training and feedback programs will allow producers to improve the quality of their coffee as well as negotiation of price.

4. Denomination of Origin (Demand) – most countries have identified regions based on specific characteristics and qualities that help in marketing their coffee. Nicaragua lacks this denomination of origin, which if implemented, will boost competitiveness and reputation.

The Volunteer

Tana Megalos

Associate-Internal Advisor Consultant, GWM

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