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Inspiring and training coffee farmers of the future

Wake up and smell the future

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Inspiring and training coffee farmers of the future

Meet Cesar Ernesto Buezo, a son of a coffee farming family, who spent his whole life surrounded by the coffee plants on his family’s farm, but until recently, hadn’t thought to stop and appreciate the coffee flavour or his prospects as a coffee famer. Then he took part in NESCAFÉ’s Youth Initiative, and his attitude changed. “The biggest breakthrough for me was the simple act of noticing the cup of coffee that I was producing,” he says. “Testing it, tasting the different flavours, studying colours and texture… this was all entirely new”.

Not a younger person’s preferred profession, less than 5% of coffee farmers fall under the age of 35 worldwide. With a growing global generational gap engaged in coffee production, NESCAFÉ set about presenting young adults with good reasons to stay on the farm and embrace a coffee future of their own. 

Men working on a coffee farm
Helping grow futures – farmer education in Honduras

Honduras has one of the world’s youngest populations, with around 65% of Hondurans under 29. In June 2019, NESCAFÉ launched a Youth Initiative there. A collaboration with the national government and part of the Nestlé Needs YOUth project, it aims to inspire younger generations to contribute to the success of their coffee-growing communities.

Part of Nestlé’s wider commitment to help 10 million young adults worldwide to access economic opportunities by 2030, the NESCAFÉ Plan aims to provide coffee farming training for up to 25,000 young people in Honduras. 

Students learning about coffee
Helping hearts and minds with coffee farming training

While studying agricultural topics in his high school, Cesar took the opportunity to join the Youth initiative. “Ever since I was young, I used to dream of who I would become and the goals I might reach,” he explains. “Here in Comayagua, I knew that coffee was my future”. He jumped at the opportunity.

With classes held at Coffee Quality Competence Centers like the one in the municipality of La Libertad, as well as remotely, the 80-hour training programme teaches coffee knowledge and entrepreneurship. An on-site plant nursery and a solar dryer allows for hands-on lessons about cultivation and harvesting. A designated preparation area allows students to learn about coffee properties, extraction methods, roasting, grinding and cup tasting.

A holistic approach to farming sees the students schooled in running a modern business. Alongside lessons in agricultural practices, harvesting and crop care, they learn about engineering techniques, methods for improving coffee quality and computer skills.

“One of our best modules was about motivation and perseverance,” says Cesar. “That really resonated, because we were all balancing the stresses of home and school. We had excellent talks about leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. It was incredible to feel the support of people who did not ask for anything in return."

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“Nestlé is commited to helping 10 million young people worldwide to access economic opportunities by 2030.”

Man tending to a coffee plant
Brewing a brighter future

Following the Initiative, a new generation of farmers feel fully invested in the farmland of their ancestors. “Most of us come from coffee producing families, but the challenge is that we inherit land along with other family members,” says Cesar. "We lack theoretical and practical training when it comes to farm management. We let older people worry about it, and production has declined.

Coffee is something that many younger people see as obsolete. Thanks to the programme, I have a different vision of what I want for my farm.”

The collective learnings, shared among youth training programmes in coffee, accelerate and expand the programmes started by the NESCAFÉ Plan in countries like Mexico and Colombia. “I think about a future in coffee, but not just in terms of an income,” says Cesar. “It’s a culture, a patrimony, an inheritance, and our family. It will always form a part of me and our community. The difference is, I don’t feel I have to be bound by tradition".

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