Farmer-to-Farmer Helps Grow Coffee and Opportunities for Women in Guatemala

Author: 
Karen Rasmussen, Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer and Rachel Falek, Communications Officer

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The specialty coffee business Chica Bean provides Guatemalan women opportunities to succeed at every stage of their coffee making and selling process.  

From the start, Chica Bean purchases coffee from a group of 10 women coffee growers who live in the small community of San Antonio las Flores, Mataquescuintla. They pay the women growers 20% above the fair-trade price for their coffee and then give 10% back of the profits to them. This additional 10% allows the women to invest in their coffee business or pay off existing debt to increase their quality of life.  

Their business is part of a trend in the country. Over the past years, growth in demand for green coffee in Guatemala has not been in the bulk commodity market that most farmers grow for, but in the specialty coffee market. Due to the shifting focus, the Guatemalan specialty coffee market is flourishing with most of the green coffee beans being exported. 

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While Chica Bean had experienced success in Guatemala, it had not yet developed a marketing strategy to access different markets. Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Karen Rasmussen met with the Chica Bean team to develop an action plan to reach their two objectives: working with coffee shops that want to buy high-end coffee and being a green bean coffee distributor for small to medium-sized roasting operations that cannot import smaller quantities of this specialty coffee.  

Rasmussen also helped Chica Bean create a strategy on how to keep their current customer relationships as well as foster potential customer relationships with those who have expressed interest in purchasing their coffee in the future. She encouraged the company to improve their website design to better market their coffee products and to share the story of their social mission.  

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Chica Bean has all the ingredients a business would need to be successful, according to Rasmussen. The quality of the coffee source is excellent, and its vision and mission are inspirational. Chica Bean has the potential to offer more women coffee growers access to a fair-trade specialty coffee market, which otherwise they would not have. Rasmussen hopes that with a strong marketing strategy, Chica Bean can offer more women coffee growers jobs and continue to make a difference.  

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