Bringing Honduran companies closer to the Swiss coffee sector

Swisscontact's Inclusive Coffee project brings together both sides of the coffee value chain to discuss the challenges and opportunities of sustainability and inclusivity in today's coffee business.

The coffee producers who were part of the commercial mission from Honduras to Switzerland and the business support organisation were supported by Swisscontact and Dr. Ingrid Fromm of the Berne University of Applied Sciences HAFL, who acted as consultant for this trade and learning mission. The participants were able to better understand the Swiss coffee market and the role that Honduran coffee plays in both the commercial and speciality segments of the business. The Honduran companies met with Fairtrade Max Havelaar, speciality coffee roasters ViCafé, Algrano, Starbucks, Keurig Dr Pepper and Nestlé. The participants also had the opportunity to share their vision of the current challenges and opportunities for sustainable coffee in Honduras with Swisscontact CEO Philippe Schneuwly and Molinos de Honduras/Volcafé General Manager Frank Reese.

Evelyn Moradel, Technical Assistant for the Inclusive Coffee project in Honduras, explained how Swisscontact focuses on 'last mile' activities with exporters and relevant trade ecosystem partners, such as AMUCAFE and other relevant trade partners. The project helps them improve the export system through capacity building to access international trade platforms, coaching, international networking and access to export-related information.

Swisscontact's work in international trade aims to better integrate less developed economies into the global economy - with a particular focus on the European and Swiss markets. In this context, five sustainable and inclusive coffee companies that are part of Swisscontact's Inclusive Coffee project participated in a 3-day trade mission to the cities of Zurich, Lausanne and Vevey. The Honduran coffee producer groups visiting Switzerland were Empresa Aruco, Pacayal Coffee, Asociación Clave de Sol, Exportadora de Occidente and AMUCAFE.

"At the 'first mile', on the import side of the trade equation, we work with our stakeholders to raise awareness of sustainable international trade that focuses on the benefits for producers and consumers. Through this project, we have brought these sustainable Honduran companies closer to the Swiss coffee market."
Evelyn Moradel, Technical Assistant, Café Inclusivo  

Ana Estevez, Quality Control Manager at Empresa Aruco and a certified Q-Grader, said the trade mission not only provided new knowledge about the Swiss market and how different companies value Honduran coffee. She also pointed out that it was great to confirm that both sides are interested and committed to sustainability, the inclusion of youth and women, and to building solid partnerships.

"I and the other members of our company are proof that youth can make a difference in a coffee company and that it is not necessary to migrate in search of a better livelihood. "
Ana Estevez, Quality Control Manager, Empresa Aruco 

For Nelly Manzanares, from Exportadora de Occidente, the exchange with leading coffee companies shed a light on the level of commitment and collaboration that exists in the sector with regards to sustainability. 

"I am compelled to share this with my peers in Honduras, to seek ways to further collaborate at the sector level within the country. "
Nelly Manzanares, Exportadora de Occidente
"It was encouraging to see the genuine interest of coffee companies in the Swiss market to hear from us about our current challenges with climate change and labour shortages due to migration, to learn about our strategies to mitigate these risks and also to see how we can work together for a more sustainable coffee value chain."
Edgar Carrillo, Pacayal Coffee

This project is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 

Inclusive Coffee: Promoting sustainable markets
The project seeks to reduce the existing inequalities in the sustainable coffee value chain in order to create more resilient livelihoods for smallholder sustainable coffee farmers.