Community Coffee Conquest

Year: 2017
Country: Panama
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Economic Opportunity
Project Investment: $6,075.00

Project Launch: 9-1-17

In the partly indigenous community of Guabál, families have been producing coffee for generations. The village's sole economic sustenance relies heavily on coffee cultivation. In 2014, the families of Guabál decided to organize into a community producers’ group so that together they might better produce their cash crop. While the group currently sells their coffee to a large distributor, members are seeking to implement a business plan that would allow it to become a legally recognized organization that sells its coffee directly to markets in the province. For this business plan to be implemented, it is imperative for the producers’ group to have the proper machinery to operate the business. It currently takes a single producer close to two months to fully process their coffee harvest. This project seeks the acquisition of a coffee huller which would eliminate the producers' need to use a hand crank and a wooden pestle in order to remove the outer layer of the bean, a process that is extremely inefficient, labor-intensive, and often damages the output. The huller would allow the producers to more efficiently process their coffee and create additional production capacity. Once the producers’ group receives this essential piece of equipment, they will meet the qualifications to begin the process to become a legally recognized organization in Panama that can sell its product directly to markets throughout the province.

Project Update: 3-5-18

The association has met their fundraising goals to buy the materials necessary to build their facility of operations. This goal was achieved through bi-weekly fundraisers which consisted of community volleyball games, soccer games, and dances. These fundraisers were organized by the association and an entrance fee or fee to play was imposed. Food and drink were sold to raise additional money. Even though the association has met their fundraising goals and construction on the facility has already started, it has decided to continue the bi-weekly fundraisers in order to raise future maintenance costs for the coffee huller. The building that will house the huller is in progress. The roof has been fixed to the building frame, the concrete floor has been cast, and the walls have been assembled. The community is now in the process of adding wooden posts that will sit between the walls and the roof of the building frame.

Final Report: 6-19-18

The building housing the huller is complete and the machine is now operational. A newly established partnership between the goods and services cooperative, El Despertar Campesino, and the Producers Association has been forged. The association hopes that this partnership will result in a new market for future coffee harvests.

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