Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Father and Son Team Supports Guatemalan Coffee Farmers

F2F volunteer Tommy Bassett
demonstrates coffee cupping.
As two-time volunteers with the Farmer-to-Farmer program, Arthur and Tommy Bassett have formed a dynamic duo working in rural coffee production. In May of this year, the pair traveled to the western highlands of Guatemala to work with Federacion Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala (FECCEG) and Kishé Coffee. With previous experience working with a Mexican coffee cooperative and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Vanuatu, Arthur arrived in Guatemala City ready to dive into the project.

The strength of FECCEG and Kishé Coffee lies in their grassroots mission to improve the livelihood of local farmers by creating a quality product in a sustainable and equitable way. Of the 22 departments of Guatemala, 20 are capable of growing coffee, making the industry a promising source of income generation for local farmers. Working primarily in Quetzaltenango and San Marcos, FECCEG met with the volunteers to discuss previous F2F projects and best business practices that will allow their certified organic, fair trade, kosher product to thrive in specialty coffee markets in the United States.

During their stay, the Bassetts evaluated product quality through several coffee cuppings, or tastings, where each participant ranked several varieties according to flavor, acidity, body, uniformity, and other factors discernible only by a true coffee connoisseur. Farmers participated in the tastings to evaluate their own products for quality and taste as well. Additionally, the volunteers placed an emphasis on marketing and social media to improve the visibility of Kishé, as most of their business with U.S. businesses is conducted online. Because Kishé is such a unique coffee brand, telling the story of the company through social media plays an important role in attracting consumers. These recommendations included updating marketing materials to include an international phone number, WhatsApp information, and a scannable code that immediately directs consumers to the company’s website.
FECCEG farmers review coffee
cultivation techniques.

At the end of two weeks, the Bassetts left FECCEG with a strategic marketing and business plan providing a framework for monitoring, evaluating, and revising their practices from here on out. The Bassetts found FECCEG to be extremely receptive to their recommendations and are confident that their work will improve the branding and marketability of the product. We are lucky to have such a qualified and dynamic team and look forward to their continued work with F2F and Partners of the Americas!

Partners of the Americas’ F2F program has a long term partnership with FECCEG. To read more about our work with the organization, click
here.

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