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Improving financial literacy in Guatemala

Financial training for effective coffee businesses

Every smallholder coffee farmer working with Nespresso tends to have a natural instinct for business, even if they do not have a formal education. But often, gaps in their knowledge mean they can struggle to manage their farms profitably.
Recognising the importance for farmers to develop good business skills, Nespresso initiated a training project for farmers in Guatemala, so that in addition to cultivating exceptional coffee, they can also grow financially successful coffee businesses.

The program was designed and administered for Nespresso by Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund that is pioneering finance for grassroots businesses in rural areas of developing countries. Root Capital conducted some 40 tailored workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions.

During the initial 12-month project launched in 2010, over 300 farmers from six farmer associations and cooperatives in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, participated in the training program. Farmers received support, advice and training to better manage their own credit systems, improve their accounting practices and ensure effective business decision-making.

Due to its success, the project was extended for a further 12 months in 2011, and included five coffee-growing associations with over 200 farmers. As part of the project, farmers could access financial management tools, including computers and accounting software, to improve the upkeep of their day-to-day business. There were also follow-up meetings with the 300 growers who had been part of the project in 2010, to ensure that good accounting practices were being followed on their farms.


A coffee farmer doing his accounting

Better business skills for long-term success

As a result of the training, farmers have better access to credit to make the investments required to improve sustainability and productivity. This access to credit, combined with the skills gained, will help all farmers run more profitable businesses, thereby increasing their incomes and improving the quality of life for their entire family.

The project was so successful that Nespresso partnered with INCAE to initiate a similar project in Costa Rica. To date, nearly 40 farmers have been trained through the new program there.

For more information about this project, read the factsheet Helping farmers improve their business skills in Guatemala (PDF, 370Kb)