On 30 November 2017, NICAFES, the Nicaraguan platform for sustainable coffee, was launched. The initiative brings together more than 25 unions, exporters, service providers, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations involved in Nicaragua's coffee sector.
Coffee is known for its unstable market, serious problems with coffee rust (a mold that brings permanent damage to plants), a recent drop in prices and a high vulnerability to climate change. Despite this, coffee is still a profitable crop that could help in reducing poverty in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in Central America, with a GDP per capita of 2.9008 US$.
The Central American country houses an average of 45,000 producers, who generate 300,000 direct and indirect jobs. However, Nicaragua comes in last when it comes to export, in comparison with its neighbouring countries. According to the trade association National Alliance of Nicaraguan Coffee Producers (ANCN), this is due to the slim to none resilience of producer organisations to climate change and unsustainable production models.
Rikolto wants to change this situation by invoking its experience and lessons learned in changing cocoa and vegetable value chains at local, national and regional levels, and building on it to make Nicaragua's coffee sector more sustainable. That is why the promotion of sustainability and competitiveness in the coffee sector was included in Rikolto’s 2017-2021 programme.