Chic coffee shops are multiplying all over the world, but in many places coffee farmers are dwindling. In one area of Indonesia, the average age of a coffee farmer is sixty; in Colombia it is fifty. Growing coffee is hard work that can sometimes generate little income. Older people who have spent their lives in the fields persist, but their children are leaving to seek more gainful, modern and enjoyable employment. A new generation of coffee professionals is urgently needed.
Over the last decade, therefore, organisations in various parts of the world have launched projects to increase the number of youth involved in the coffee sector. Some have been extremely successful, generating benefits that extend far beyond the coffee sector into social, economic and psychological welfare. These projects provide clear insights that can be applied in many other places and can potentially transform the entire coffee production sector. As part of the development of the Coffee Toolkit Sustainable Coffee As a Family Business1 , Hivos commissioned several case studies on best practices to involve youth in coffee. These tools were included in the Toolkit and the five case studies are presented here in this article. After an outline of each case, we offer the general lessons that can be distilled from them all.
The case studies presented are:
- Youth and sustainable coffee in Bajawa Ngada Ntt, Flores, Indonesia
- Ocotal Coffee School Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
- The Coffee Kids Programma Jinetoga, Nicaragua
- The Young Coffee Farmers Programme Antioquia, Colombia
- The Vijana Uprising Youth Group & Neema Youth Group - Cirigwa Cooperative Meru County, Kenya