This past week Scott and I continued to focus on developing our thesis and presentation regarding ways to help the Salvadorian coffee sector.
As such, the number of meetings has declined. Instead we’ve focused on organizing our thoughts, data and doing continued outreach to clarify points and
fill in data holes to the extent possible.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, our conclusions are centered on 3 actionable items:
- Securing appropriate genetic material – coffee seeds of varietals with desirable yield, flavor and fungus resistance characteristics
- Delivering technical assistance – instruction on best practices for managing a coffee farm
- Obtaining access to capital – the funds needed to pay for the above
Admittedly these are more “bottom-up” solutions; they can be delivered directly to farmers by TechnoServe and others. However, after some thought and
additional meetings, Scott and I think it is also important to include “top-down” recommendations. These are more structural and relate to the overall
organization of the industry.
In short, El Salvador also needs a centralized body that can coordinate essential services and research on behalf of the entire industry. Today, the
industry is highly fragmented and lacks effective coordination and strategic leadership. We understand that implementing such top-down structural reforms
is very difficult and likely involves significant government involvement. However, we also believe that without it, the industry will be challenged to
realize its potential for increasing output, employment and income.