Every company involved in coffee has a role to play in the future of coffee. And at InterAmerican, we take that responsibility seriously.
Over 35 years, we’ve learned how to offer roasters of every size their perfect coffees and a streamlined buying experience. And through our relationships at coffee origins, we continue to learn—and keep questioning—how we might be better partners to coffee producers and meaningfully contribute to their future success. Because by all accounts, coffee communities as we’ve known them are seriously threatened.
While many people might like to continue the coffee-growing traditions of their families, environmental factors—from greater heat and droughts to unexpected moisture patterns that breed crop-decimating funguses—have made farming more challenging than it has ever been and demanding of tactics beyond those passed down through the generations.
Additionally, for younger people—especially those who have experienced the cruelty of a coffee income that falls short of supporting a family—it can be tempting to leave their farms for less uncertain (and less isolated) work in cities. Or to sell family property to developers, as the edges of cities quickly race outward.
Positive change, in coffee communities, has never been more necessary.
So, we’re thrilled to share that we’re expanding our relationship with the non-profit coffee foundation Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS).
HRNS was established in 2005 by Michael R. Neumann and his family, the original founders of the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG). HRNS operates independently from NKG and works with the most vulnerable coffee communities to unlock their potential, encourage strong community organizations and strengthen their ability to independently achieve better livelihoods.
In previous years, IAC has sold coffees produced through the HRNS program Coffee Kids, which works to empower the next generation of coffee farmers through Rural Business Workshops. This year, we’re providing $20,000 toward an expansion of Coffee Kids and in support of the Feed the Future Alliance for Resilient Coffee, a joint USAID and HRNS program that builds farmers’ resilience to climate change.
Specifically, our funding will support:
In Huehuetenango, Guatemala:
Rural Business Workshops — which include climate-adaptation trainings and farmer-to-farmer demonstration plots to share Climate Smart Agriculture practices — as well as individual trainings on managing climate challenges through coffee drying and processing techniques.
In Chimaltenango, Guatemala:
The development of specialty microlot programs for women producers; efforts to grow connections between producer associations and exporters; and steps to strengthen existing farmer groups and minimize the influence of local intermediaries.
In Trifinio (the tri-border of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala):
Quality training on how climate hazards can affect coffee quality and techniques for managing risk through specific drying and processing practices. And leadership training for young producers, and especially young women, to embolden them to see themselves as leaders, entrepreneurs, and mentors within their communities and the coffee supply chain.
“I am very excited that IAC is joining us on this journey to encourage young farmers to dream big, continue their family traditions of coffee farming and particularly to help them withstand the threats of climate change," said Jan von Enden, managing director of HRNS. "To be taken into consideration by coffee professionals like IAC is a huge motivation boost for the youth. They're not looking for a handout but for a partnership—and we thank IAC for providing that!”
Florian Benkhofer, CEO of InterAmerican, added, “It’s our responsibility to care about the future of coffee and to support the most vulnerable participants in the coffee supply chain: the small producers. In HRNS and Coffee Kids, we found the perfect partners, and we’re proud and happy to work with such a great group on the current and upcoming challenges facing coffee and the people who depend on it.” •
Honduras Coffee Kids Uniocafe and Guatemala San José Poaquil HRNS have just arrived and are available immediately; please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. To learn about additional ways to support their efforts, please visit the Coffee Kids web site.