In Nicaragua, the coffee industry is one of the nation's biggest employers. A recent report from the Global Agricultural Information Network states that production is only growing, with a seven percent increase in 2016/2017 putting the estimated production at 2.3 million 60 kg bags. Coffee employs about 332,000 people in the country, which is about 15 percent of the labor market, and accounts for more than half of agriculture.
Daily Coffee News reports that this level of production and economic investment has motivated the country to take a stand for sustainability.
On November 30, the Nicaraguan Platform for Sustainable Development was launched as a way to connect both private and public interests working in the coffee industry. Why? This allows them to assure that the needs of coffee growers, shareholders, and the planet are met as they work towards maintaining the sustainability of coffee agriculture.
There are 35 organizations associated with the network, and they include groups from every part of the process, from growth to distribution. The effort is supported by the Alianza Nacional De Cafetaleros de Nicaragua, a small farmer development organization called Rikolto, and UTZ, which certifies sustainable farming efforts.
Juan Francisco Martínez of UTZ Nicaragua announced the platform's launch by saying one of the biggest challenges facing sustainability was connecting the many facets of the industry in Nicaragua.
“The main challenge of NICAFES is to unify efforts from public and private coffee sector,” said Martínez. “This will only be possible through a dialogue amongst relevant actors.”
NICAFES plans are being laid out for 2018-2021, and they extend beyond sustainability. The organization is tackling issues pertaining to profitability, climate change, gender issues, child labor, and farm workers. Sustainability is something that needs to be maintained for the health of the planet, but Nicaragua is now working towards making it a daily practice that is literally sustainable in people's lives.