Jorge

AGE: 24
COMMUNITY: Colombia

Jorge Euclice Suárez Motato is a 24-year-old participant in Coffee Kids in Colombia who has used his new business and barista skills to launch a coffee bar that sells his own label, The Alps, as well as natural honey. Though the coffee bar started as a stall at local events and festivals, Jorge used the proceeds from his initial venture to build out a brick and mortar shop.

He was able to launch the shop in part because his farm is producing like never before. Technical assistance that increased his coffee yield freed up time and energy to focus on other areas of his business, and to learn new ways of participating in the coffee economy.

According to Jorge, “one of the best parts about being chosen to work with Coffee Kids is that I can share what I have learned with my friends. I love expanding the Coffee Kids family!” He sees the shop as a path to independence. “In life, we must learn to face our challenges and become self-sufficient. Only once I am independent can I truly serve my community.”

Partners

Coffee Kids is engaging in Risaralda and Valle de Cauca in Colombia with established organizations with strong community involvement that extends beyond their commercial role.

The Need

Young farmers in the coffee-growing regions of Risaralda have had particularly difficult challenges with climate change. After prolonged rains five years ago during “La Niña,” the region has been hit by a severe “El Niño” drought. The dry spell has severely reduced productivity, leaving a heavy credit burden on many families. It is especially hard for young farmers who typically have less land to continue to support their families with their family farming business.

The challenging conditions over the past years have sparked many ideas and innovations among young coffee farmers: strategies for crop and income diversification were implemented with new products and services, waste has been upcycled to produce biogas, and young farmers focus much more on coffee quality to get better returns. Despite being very innovative, the possibilities to exchange, discuss, and improve ideas as well as access to finance are limited.

The Project

Young farmers have seen the success of working with an entrepreneurial spirit and have voiced the desire to strengthen the structure of their engagement. Young men and women in the communities that the organization serves are being brought together to form groups that are being supported in defining their vision for the communities’ future. Coffee Kids is providing entrepreneurial training, seed capital for business ideas, and links to mentors to help businesses that are formed or strengthened to prosper. Savings groups or revolving funds will also be facilitated so that the investment in innovation can continue for other young people in the community.

The Outcome

Young farmers working together, innovating, and jointly administering funds to invest in rural small businesses within their communities will provide social cohesion and inter-generational exchange. It will also create an incentive for youth to take a broader role on their family farms, or to take on farming as a vocation.