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Rob Hefferon

RECENT POSTS

This “Hidden Influencer” is Expanding Opportunity for Women Farmers in Colombia

Posted by Rob Hefferon  |  Mar 5, 2020 2:55:23 PM

Elizabeth Garzon Piamba, agronomic technician for ASPROSI coffee association.

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. The crickets have stopped chirping and hours will pass before the rooster crows. Elizabeth Garzón Piamba is preparing the fire for breakfast while her family sleeps. After she feeds her children and gets them ready for school, she heads out to work as the sun just peeks over the horizon. Elizabeth is a coffee farmer. And she has 4,000 trees to take care of.

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Topics: Women in Agriculture, South America, Our Community

These Guatemalan Farmers Are Harnessing the Power of Digital Data With Help From Root Capital

Posted by Rob Hefferon  |  Feb 28, 2020 2:39:24 PM

Two cooperative employees crowded around a computer with one pointing at the screen and the other looking on.

Since the advent of the internet, digital technology has revolutionized the coffee industry. Buyers price their contracts with algorithmic software. Roasters optimize the flavor of their beans by controlling heat to a fraction of a degree. Even baristas use high-tech kits to test the chemical makeup of their brews. But while the world has changed around them, many coffee farmers have been left out.

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Topics: Environment, Advisory Services, Stories of Impact, Livelihoods, Digital Business Intelligence

In Tough Conditions, This Nicaraguan Cooperative Blossoms

Posted by Rob Hefferon  |  Sep 26, 2019 1:56:37 PM

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Wiston Vílchez had barely turned 24 when he took over as general manager of the fledgling Flor de Dalia coffee cooperative in 2014. At the time, the cooperative consisted of a handful of families who sold their coffee to local brokers at rock-bottom prices. The brokers then sold the coffee on the international market with a huge mark-up—pocketing all the profit for themselves. 

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Topics: Mexico and Central America, Partnerships, Advisory Services, Stories of Impact, Livelihoods

How Investing in Young People Sets Coffee Businesses Up for Long-term Success

Posted by Rob Hefferon  |  Sep 24, 2019 12:27:38 PM

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Duban Gómez Alvarado grew up expecting to one day enter the family business: coffee farming. The Alvarados have worked the flourishing fields of western Colombia for generations—but, in recent years, climate change has imperiled their crop yields. Simultaneously, the global coffee price has plummeted below the cost of production, leaving many farmers without a livable income. “For many years, we have been coffee farmers in my family,” Duban says, “but I am not convinced at the prospect of continuing with my family’s work.”

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Topics: South America, Partnerships, Youth, Stories of Impact