Brewing Prosperity

Coffee is more than just one of the world’s most popular beverages.

For the world’s roughly 10 million coffee farmers – 95 percent who are smallholder family farmers – coffee represents food, clean water, medicine, school fees or a better home. Yet nearly half of these families are still living below the poverty line.

Our Expertise

TechnoServe is helping to build a sustainable global coffee industry that can lift millions of farming families out of poverty. For nearly five decades, we have developed a set of market-based solutions to meet this challenge and applied them in communities across Africa and Latin America.

Our approach addresses four key areas:

  • Better Farming: Improving farming by providing farmers with intensive, field-based agronomy and business training using local trainers
  • Better Business: Strengthening the coffee industry by establishing, mobilizing financing for, and providing management support to farmer-owned coffee processing businesses and cooperatives
  • Better Supply Chains: Developing practical and sustainable solutions to coffee supply chain issues including social responsibility and financial transparency 
  • Better Environment: Pioneering simple, cost-effective solutions to the environmental challenges associated with coffee production


We have assisted farmers in building 266 new wet mills and advised 177 existing wet mills, which has helped improve quality and raise incomes for 250,000 farmers.

We have trained more than 235,700 farmers in sustainable agronomic practices, helping farmers increase productivity and income. This has also created jobs for over 750 youth, who have been employed as farmer trainers.

TechnoServe has helped to improve the sustainability of the coffee supply chain, supporting over 580 businesses in adopting sustainability standards and increasing transparency. Since 2010, we have helped 50 wet mills in Ethiopia to upgrade their wastewater management systems and comply with environmental regulations.

Support coffee farming families across the world by making a sustainable donation to TechnoServe.

On The Ground



Coffee Initiative

The Coffee Initiative worked with local farmers in East Africa to improve agronomy and business practices, establish new coffee cooperatives and strengthen existing ones, and help cooperatives create business plans and access financing for wet mills.
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Better Coffee Harvest

Coffee is one of the most important economic activities for rural families in many parts of Central America. The Better Coffee Harvest (COSECHA) project is a four-year initiative funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the J.M. Smucker Company and the PIMCO Foundation to reduce poverty and increase farm sales for coffee farmers in El Salvador and Nicaragua. The project seeks to train 6,000 smallholders to improve productivity, quality, farm management and financial literacy; increase farm revenues by 25 percent; and build the capacity of local organizations such as cooperatives, exporters and trade associations to boost long-term productivity and facilitate financing. Since launching in 2014, the project has trained more than 7,570 farmers – 27 percent of whom are women – and established 128 coffee demonstration plots to be used for training purposes.

Providing Opportunities for Youth and Women Through Coffee in Eastern Guatemala

In partnership with the Trade Facilitation Office of Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, TechnoServe is implementing a four-year initiative to train 1,000 farmers in agronomic and sustainability practices in eastern Guatemala. Launched in 2015, the project aims to pilot innovative approaches to improve gender equality in decision-making across coffee businesses and households. It is expected that 50 percent of coffee families will adopt actions to promote a greater sharing of responsibilities between men and women. As a complement, TechnoServe will also train youth in coffee growing communities to improve their economic opportunities in three areas: farming as a business; creating one's own business; and accessing the formal job market.

Enhancing Sustainability and Increasing Coffee Incomes in Ethiopia’s Sidama Zone

Some of the highest quality coffee in the world comes from the Sidama Zone of Ethiopia, produced primarily by 200,000 smallholder farming families, most of whom continue to live in poverty due to small farm sizes and low productivity. Beginning in 2013, TechnoServe in partnership with IDH, Nestlé and Nestlé Nespresso is working to increase the income of these farmers by increasing the supply of high-quality, sustainable produce coffee. The program has trained 83 private wet-mill operators to improve sustainability practices through the adoption of new practices including the separation of coffee pulp from waste water for composting and distribution to farmers.


IDH, Nespresso

Developing a Sustainable Supply Chain for Unwashed Coffee

Ethiopia is the largest exporter of Arabica coffee in Africa, with 70 percent of exports being unwashed coffee. With support from Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) and IDH, TechnoServe is looking to make the unwashed coffee sector in Ethiopia's Jimma, Lekempti and Sidama regions more sustainable. The project will support 100 high producing hulling stations to comply with sustainability standards, as well as provide agronomy training to help 24,000 farmers adopt best practices and increase yields by 50 percent. The program has supported 31 hulling stations in adopting sustainability practice as of the end of 2015.

Revitalizing South Sudan’s Coffee Industry

South Sudan had a long coffee tradition before a prolonged civil war stifled production. Starting in 2011, TechnoServe partnered with Nespresso to revitalize the country’s coffee industry, aiming to triple coffee incomes and improve household resilience. As of January 2016, the project has enabled smallholder coffee farmers in Yei to establish six coffee wet mills and process washed Robusta for export for the first time in the country’s history, sold by Nespresso in France as limited edition “Suluja ti South Sudan.” Over 700 farmers have attended monthly agronomy trainings which launched in August 2015, and the cooperatives have produced over 20,000 coffee tree seedlings. In 2016, the U.S. Agency for International Development joined the partnership to expand the initiative. By 2019, the project aims to train 1,500 South Sudanese farmers, of whom at least 25 percent will be women, and help establish nine cooperative-owned wet mills.

Coffee Sustainability at the Origin

With the financial support from Gevalia and the Kraft Heinz Company, TechnoServe is working with smallholder coffee farmers in the departments of El Paraíso and Intibucá to increase the quantity and improve the quality of Honduran coffee in a way that creates additional value for smallholder farmers at the origin of the value chain. Over the course of four years, 2,000 Honduran smallholder coffee farmers will receive training on key agronomic practices that will boost yields and improve the quality of their coffee through this initiative. The project also focuses on helping farmers find new markets that reward them for the quality of the coffee they produce. As part of the project's objective to improve security and fight the seasonal hunger that affects coffee producing communities, participating farmers will have the opportunity to receive training on improved practices for basic grain production, and exposure to new cash crops that they can produce to diversify their income sources.

The MAS Project: Sustainable Agricultural Improvement

The four-year Sustainable Agricultural Improvement project (Mejoramiento Agrícola Sostenible, or MAS, in Spanish) targets small and medium-scale coffee and bean farmers in the central region of Honduras. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food for Progress program, the project supports the Honduran government's national development plan and agriculture sector strategy. In 2016, MAS benefited more than 32,000 small-scale coffee and bean producers across more than 430 producer organizations. The assistance includes training through 459 field schools in five departments (El Paraíso, Francisco Morazán, Olancho, Comayagua and Yoro). More than 25,900 producers have been able to access $15.5 million in credit to buy quality inputs, provide maintenance to farms and invest in infrastructure. After four crop cycles, bean farmers increased their productivity by an average of 54 percent, which has enabled them to substantially increase their income. In addition, 89 agreements of commercialization were signed by government entities and producers, benefiting more than 1,000 bean farmers, commercializing more than 3,000 metric tons. Coffee growers have seen an average productivity increase of 54 percent and have increased their coffee revenues by approximately 60 percent as a result of market linkages facilitated by the project. Through the implementation of integral marketing contracts, about 325 coffee growers' organizations representing more than 7,000 producers assisted by the project have been able to sell approximately 200,000 quintals of coffee directly to exporters. The quality of coffee has substantially improved as a result of technical assistance, and approximately 7,000 producers are marketing their with a cupping grade of 80 percent or more on the SCAA scale.

Water Wise Coffee

In Ethiopia’s Sidama coffee region, hundreds of millions of liters of wastewater and coffee pulp are accidentally discharged into the rivers during coffee processing. This polluted water then becomes source water for communities and wet mills downstream. Since 2012, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee and TechnoServe have partnered on the Water Wise Coffee project to protect the region's rivers. The project works with wet mill owners to implement an innovative water management solution, which includes reducing water usage, separating the coffee pulp from the wastewater, and planting vetiver grass wetlands. The wastewater is then absorbed by the vetiver grass, which is able to tolerate highly polluted water, or evaporates, while the coffee pulp is composted and distributed to farmers as organic fertilizer. The project is working with 70 wet mills along the Kola, Malebo and nearby rivers to implement these solutions. In 2015, participating wet mills processed 13,812 metric tons of coffee cherry and converted coffee pulp into over 2,400 metric tons of compost. Testing downriver from wet mill sites has shown that the Water Wise approach prevents pollution by the wet mill during the harvest season, with rivers maintaining their pre-harvest condition.

Increasing the Adoption of Centralized Coffee Wetmills

The Huila Central Mill Project is a two-year program that will pilot a sustainable and replicable wetmill model for Colombia. By demonstrating the economic viability of centralized wetmilling, the project aims to influence coffee farmers to transition from in-farm wetmills to centralized wetmills. The Central Mill pilot will work with approximately 350 coffee-growing families and will work to strengthen the producer business group that will own the mill.To date the project has generated nearly $400,000 in financial benefits for the local coffee-producing community.



Strengthening the Coffee Value Chain

TechnoServe in partnership with McDonald’s has developed a four-year initiative to train 12,000 farmers on sustainable agriculture practices and improved processing practices. The farmer training modules cover all sustainable agronomy practices as well as environmental issues and ethical labor management, thereby increasing production while helping farmers to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change. By the end of 2015, the project had trained 14,000 farmers, surpassing its targets, with coffee yields increasing by 35 percent, and other crop yield increasing by 40 percent.



Blog Posts

May 3, 2018

Turning Waste into Profit

In sub-Saharan Africa, TechnoServe is working to create new industries and incomes from products typically discarded as waste during cashew and coffee processing.

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April 20, 2018

Four Reasons to Feel Good About Your Cup of Coffee on Earth Day

In Ethiopia, TechnoServe is working with Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality Program to build a coffee sector that is sustainable and prosperous for local farmers and ecosystems.

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April 18, 2018

Coffee Offers Opportunity in Peru’s Former Coca-Growing Regions

TechnoServe is helping to pave the way toward a drug-free Peru by supporting 10,000 coffee-farming families in former coca-growing regions to improve their productivity and access more profitable markets.

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March 14, 2018

How Women Agronomists in Ethiopia are Helping Improve Gender Equality

In Ethiopia, 75 percent of the work in the coffee value chain is carried out by women, whereas only 43 percent of the income is earned by those same women. Kebebushe is one of 79 agronomists working with Nespresso to support more than 40,000 coffee farmers with best farming practices, and to improve the status of women throughout the value chain.

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Thought Leadership

In the News

TechnoServe Boasts of Lasting Impact in East Africa Coffee Initiative | Daily Coffee News

This article highlights the lasting impact of TechnoServe's work with coffee farmers, five years after its completion.

East Africa’s Specialty Coffee Shows Incredible Growth: Report | Global Coffee Report

This article highlights the impact of the Coffee Initiative, a partnership between TechnoServe and the Gates Foundation.

TechnoServe Names Paul Stewart Global Coffee Director | Daily Coffee News

This article highlights the impact of TechnoServe's coffee programs around the globe.

World’s Most Oil-Dependent Country Looks to Coffee | ABC News

TechnoServe's alliance with USAID and Nespresso to support South Sudanese coffee farmers wins praise from experts.

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