SID’s regional approach gives 18,380 coffee-producing families a chance to graduate from poverty. Farmers defined 28 practices they need to adopt; local officials and teachers are promoting them; we conduct fairs to demonstrate them; and we provide assistance in communities that agree to adopt all of them. In the first year of the program, the general population’s knowledge and adoption of the 28 practices doubled. In the communities adopting all the practices, farmers increased their productivity by 47%, their husking and sales directly to exporters from 0% to 21% of the harvest, and their income from $106 to $293 a year from coffee.
75% of the world’s poor are small farmers trying to make the transition from subsistence farming to successful commercial farming, but less than 15% have access to technical assistance. The regional approach is working, and we have begun designing similar projects for coffee farmers in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Uganda, and dairy farmers in Malawi.