Colombia: very encouraging results for our project

In a country that has suffered at length from civil war, a new generation of coffee entrepreneurs has been able to emerge, in particular thanks to the project established between 2018 and 2022 by the Collibri Foundation and its partners.
150 young people from nine municipalities in the Santander region were encouraged to choose cultivating coffee locally over migration. The first assessments of this project – which is more than just a simple training programme – are proving very positive. But before we review the project’s objectives and results, let’s take a refresher on growing coffee in Colombia.


The coffee growing context in Colombia

Coffee is a crop with a delayed yield: for young people, the three years needed for a new plantation to mature is seen as a very long time without any income. Many of them leave for the city in the hope of earning money straight away. Their lack of education then plunges them into poverty. Now, there really are opportunities for an income in the rural context: young people can take up the baton from coffee growers who have an average age of 58. The young people taking part in our project also learn the best techniques for cultivating coffee sustainably.

What were the project’s objectives?

The project was aiming to give 150 young people the opportunity to acquire technical skills, learning essentially by experience. Their activity also needed to enable them to earn an income and become independent. The aim was also to strengthen the bond of attachment to their activity and local community, so as to slow down the exodus to the city.

Learn more about the project



1,500 coffee plants each year

On their own plot of land - provided by their family - the young growers planted 1,500 coffee bushes each year over a period of three years. They were provided with help in various forms to achieve this:

  • seeds provided
  • technical support when planting and while the plants are growing
  • learning about fertilisation techniques
  • equipment to enable best practice and healthy and environmentally-friendly plantations

Concrete and encouraging results!

In four years we have been able to establish a new generation of coffee entrepreneurs. With concrete results on several levels:

1. Winning over the young people

The project involved working with the young people to persuade them to consider growing coffee as a real option for their lives: more satisfying and financially more rewarding than migrating. And 93.4% of the young people who took part in the project now see their future this way.


“A really good apprenticeship, which will help us move forward and invest.”


2. Developing a bond with the locality

More than 9 out of 10 of the young people stated that they wanted to remain on their coffee plantation and increase production, making the project sustainable. The percentage of women (96%) was even higher, with the project also contributing to making young women autonomous and financially independent.

3. Increased yield

Driven by the young people, plantation densities increased by around 12%. Current and future yields per hectare are also higher. So incomes are too. Not to mention growth in volume of sales of around 27%.

“Thanks to this project we can develop our own coffee business.”


4. Developing digital skills through the pandemic

The implementation phase took place during the Covid pandemic. There was a silver lining: the young participants in the project were able to familiarize themselves with digital tools, in particular for managing plantation schedules.

90% of young people

want to stay on their plantation

+ 12%

more plantations

+ 27%

higher sales volume


coffee bushes planted each year

A new project from January 2023

This coffee cultivation programme continues with a new project recently set up. Our assessments identified a number of opportunities for improvement which have been addressed for this new project; we will tell you all about it soon.

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Collibri Foundation


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