Colombia: a new generation of coffee entrepreneurs

Having suffered through more than 50 years of armed conflict, Colombia’s history is a tumultuous one. And the civil war with the FARC has also affected the Santander coffee-growing region. Nowadays, Colombians are putting the conflict behind them and a new generation of coffee entrepreneurs is emerging, intent on guiding Colombian coffee cultivation into the 21st century.
From 2018 to 2025
EUR 50,000/year
Colombia, South America

Those young people can count on support from the project 'A new generation of coffee entrepreneurs'. It succeeds Education for the Future in Santander, which was in place between October 2014 and February 2018. With 100 graduated coffee farmers and 200,000 new coffee plants, that project was a huge success. The logical decision was to continue in the direction we had already taken. Together with our partners (EFICO foundation, FNC and SENA), we have been continuing the project since 2018.  

The first evaluation of the project is promising. Between 2018 and 2022, this project set up by Collibri Foundation and its partners encouraged 150 young people from 9 municipalities in the Santander region to choose local coffee growing instead of migrating to the city. Reason enough to extend the project in Colombia until 2025 with new targets based on the insights from the evaluation.

Building on good results

After four years, we succeeded in forming a new generation of coffee entrepreneurs. With concrete results at different levels:

  • Youth engagement:
    93.4 % of participants plan to pursue their future as coffee entrepreneurs.
  • Development of local anchoring:
    more than 9 in 10 young people want to stay at the coffee plantation.
  • Higher yields:
    planting density increased by 12 %, sales volume even by about 27 %.
  • Stronger digital skills:
    the Covid pandemic proved to be a useful learning opportunity to familiarise young people with digital tools.

90 % of young people

want to stay on their plantation

+ 12 %

more plantations

+ 27 %

higher sales volume


coffee bushes planted each year

New insights, continuing challenges

Besides the good results that came out of the evaluation, some challenges remain. These are mainly social and job-technical in nature:

  • Young people migrate to cities
    This project encourages the transfer to the new generation. However, continued attention is needed to create opportunities locally for the new generation, which should keep them from migrating to the cities.
  • Climate concerns
    There is still work to be done when it comes to disease control, soil analysis and shade creation. The potential impact of weather phenomena such as El niño and La niña also needs to be reduced to ensure sustainable coffee production.
  • Aging coffee plantations
    Strong efforts should be made to ensure continuous growth of coffee plants. Too little consideration is given to production cycles, resulting in ageing coffee plants. This can eventually lead to reduced yields, quality and, consequently, income.

The bar remains high 

The challenges that have emerged from the study are being addressed with concrete objectives. The project has a wide range of objectives, from social to economic and environmental. In a nutshell:

  • Planting an additional 450,000 coffee plants over a 3-year period.
  • Existing coffee plantations invest in food supply with maize, beans and chickens in addition to coffee plants.
  • Training 100 young people in good agricultural practices (GAP).
  • Supporting them to successfully develop productive plantations, based on soil analyses.
  • Above all, ensuring that the 100 young people have become independent leaders at the end of the project. They not only know how to produce quality coffee but also how to market it.

Our Stories

Collibri Foundation


Colruyt Group
Edingensesteenweg 196
1500 Halle


+32 (0)2 363 55 45
during office hours


KBO 0753.616.160