Tour of Nicaraguan farmer co-ops

Photos and background by Stuart Reid.. The Cooperative League of the USA ? CLUSA - was founded in 1916 to promote the growth of cooperatives in the U.S. and since 1953 has provided technical assistance to cooperatives and other forms of group businesses in over 60 countries. In Nicaragua, the small farmer project began in 1994. The goals of the project are: To increase the income of small farmers To provide technical training and assistance to improve yields and quality To encourage environmentally sustainable farming practices To create direct marketing systems that maximize producer incomes and connections to their consumers To create linkages to processors, brokers and exporters To improve business management capabilities To increase rural employment The project has been very successful. Wherever we visited farmers and processors, the tremendous pride they had in their accomplishments was evident. This kind of development effort gives rural populations a chance to take control of the entire farm to market food chain. By eliminating intermediaries, farmers retain nearly twice as much income from their crops and can see the impact that freshness, quality and improved farming practices have on the marketability of their products. One of the major successes of the project has been the development of organic coffee growers? cooperatives. With the cooperatives? greater resources, the coffee growers have been able to start their own cupping facilities (for tasting, evaluating and improving quality) and contract for processing and roasting. The result is an excellent organic coffee that is roasted and packed to order in Nicaragua. The growers earn much more than they would if the sold their green coffee to a broker, and every step in the process provides additional jobs in rural Nicaragua. Several Twin Cities co-ops have begun to direct-import this ?Small Farmer? brand coffee. If you would like more information about the CLUSA project or how to obtain the coffee, contact Stuart Reid at Click on individual photos to see them in a larger format and for the caption describing each photo.
Photographer's Name: 
Stuart Reid
Date Photos Taken: 
Sat, 11/30/2002 - 18:00
Multiple, Nicaragua