Blog Post

Stakeholder Workshop Insights: Coffee value chain in Honduras

The initiative Rethinking Food Markets - CGIAR team organized a one-day stakeholders’ workshop for WP1 global coffee value chain in Honduras on February 2nd, 2023, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In Central America, the Initiative is led by the Alliance of Biodiversity International & CIAT (ABC), it focuses on two work packages: WP1 focuses on increasing participation and profitability of smallholders and agrifood SMEs in the global coffee value chain, and WP2 on innovations for inclusive and sustainable growth of domestic maize and bean value chains.

The workshop's main purpose was to bring together key stakeholders and potential partners to co-design innovations and interventions to implement the research study, to create a more equitable distribution of income and employment opportunities in growing food markets. The main specific objectives of the workshop included: (1) to share the scoping study findings with stakeholders and validate these findings; (2) to co-design innovations/interventions bundles with stakeholders; (3) to co-select and co-design core innovations for prioritized innovation areas to enhance impacts; and (4) to jointly identify potential activities for the years 2023-2024.​

A total of twenty-seven (27) participants attended the workshop. They represented institutions from the public and private sectors, including research & extension, exporters, importers, cooperatives, regulatory institutions, sub-sectoral institutions, financial institutions, NGOs, multi-stakeholder platforms, donors, and producers.  The workshop was developed and facilitated by Federico Ceballos (Postdoctoral Fellow ABC), Jenny Wiegel (Scientist and sub-regional manager ABC), Byron Reyes (Scientist ABC), Mirian Colindres (Senior Research Associate ABC) and Carlos Rodríguez (Senior Research Coordinator ABC). It was very important to have the presence and support of Mirja Michalscheck from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)  as part of the MELIA & SPA team (Monitoring, Evaluation, Impact Assessment and Scaling Preparedness and Actions).

Jenny Weigel, Sub-regional Manager ABC welcomed the participants, introduced the initiative team, and explained their roles, as well as the agenda and objectives of the workshop. An explanation of OneCGIAR's approach to generating evidence on innovations to support scaling was presented, also an overview of the Initiatives, just before presenting the initiative Rethinking Food Markets research agenda, globally as well as how it intends to engage with the coffee sector in Honduras. She emphasized that it is very strategic to support the coffee supply chain in aspects such as: improving vertical coordination and product quality, as well as using digital innovations. It was highlighted the importance that innovations will be prioritized in terms of contributing to at least one of the following three impact areas: (i) poverty, livelihoods, and income, (ii) inclusivity towards women and youth, and (iii) environmental sustainability, as prioritized by the CGIAR.

the Honduran research team presenting the main findings of the WP1 scoping report with the stakeholders

Then, the Honduran research team presented the main findings of the WP1 scoping report with the stakeholders. First, Federico Ceballos presented a review of literature and secondary data on the Honduran coffee supply chain, bottlenecks and innovations identified in consultations with key actors in the coffee value chain were presented by Mirian Colindres and Miguel Gómez; Jenny Melo gave a presentation focused on digital innovations in the Central American coffee sector and their potential for transformation at scale. The proposed agenda of the initiative in the global coffee value chain in Honduras was presented highlighting the prioritized issues, such as: (i) labor informality in the productive link, (ii) low bargaining power of producers, and (iii) limited high-value sales contracts between domestic suppliers and foreign buyers. The areas of innovation were also shared: (i) Innovations with intermediaries concerning quality and price transmission, (ii) Innovations that improve women’s incomes, (iii) Innovations for traceability based on quality and origin, and (iv) Innovations for traceability based on environmental characteristics (avoiding deforestation). 

Following the research agenda proposed, we received feedback from the participants through discussions, short online surveys via QR-codes, questions, and answers, focused on how it could leverage these areas of innovation to improve the inclusion, and sustainability in the Honduran coffee value chain. The afternoon of the workshop was focused to co-designing innovations and interventions. The participants had selected their topic of interest, and the four working groups were organized according to the innovations described in the previous paragraph. The results of the work conducted by each group were presented in plenary to generate feedback, validate, and communicate the steps to be followed in the study. The group that discussed the innovations with intermediaries concerning quality and price transmission identified the need for a better understanding of intermediation markets and intermediaries. The proposed core innovation is implementing a commercialization scheme that strengthens the supply chain through better monitoring (using traceability tools), financing, and technical assistance to farmers.

From the group on innovations that improve women’s incomes, the challenges faced by women in accessing resources and financial services were widely discussed, and the group suggested there is a need that alternative forms of recognition of women’s landownership and land-based guarantor process (reciprocal guarantees) to improve credit and other opportunities access for women. Participants in the Innovations for traceability based on quality and origin group, identified the need to build capacity for keeping records among intermediaries, given their role as consolidators. They suggested the use of 2 Apps (for tracing processes along the supply chain. They suggested the use of 2 apps (GrainChain and INATrace) to record and monitor the activities conducted along the coffee supply chain. The group on Innovations for traceability based on environmental characteristics (avoiding deforestation), they discussed that it is important that intermediaries can be involved in the pilot to implement traceability systems to face the new European Union Zero Deforestation regulations, especially to serve small producers, since most of the coffee in Honduras passes through the hands of intermediaries. They suggested that a greater effort should be made to integrate them into future activities. 

The participants expressed their satisfaction with the results of the workshop, highlighting the work dynamics and interaction that took place between the participants and the team of the Rethinking Markets initiative in Honduras. Some organizations expressed interest in participating in the implementation of the innovations that were identified and discussed in the groups.
Before the end of the workshop, the following steps were announced: follow-up and individual meetings with organizations that have shown interest in innovations, to find synergies in the implementation of the pilot in the coffee chain in Honduras. 

About the authors:
Mirian Colindres is a Senior Research Associate for the Food Environment & Consumer Behavior Research Area of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.
Federico Ceballos-Sierra is a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Food Environment & Consumer Behavior Research Area of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. 
Mirja Michalscheck is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Innovation Scaling at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 
Jennifer Wiegel holds a joint position as Sub-Regional Manager Central America and Researcher working on food systems, the food environment, consumer behavior and value chains at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. 
Thai Minh is a Senior Researcher in Innovation Scaling at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
Byron Reyes is a scientist in Foresight and Applied Economics for Impact for the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.