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Inspiring and training young coffee farmers of the future

Wake up and smell the future

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Inspiring and training young coffee farmers of the future

Men working on a coffee farm

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 people 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

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 program 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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Man tending to a coffee plant

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 grandchildren, children and cousins,” 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 young people see as obsolete. Thanks to the program, I have a different vision of what I want for my farm.”

The collective learnings, shared among youth training programs in coffee, accelerate and expand the programs 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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