Assistance for the  preparation of a conversion and diversification programme for coffee production - formulation project only


DURATION: 2004-2005

PROJECT OBJECTIVES and DESCRIPTION: Nicaragua is mainly an agricultural country and 45 per cent of its 5.1 million inhabitants live in rural areas. Over half of the population is thought to be affected by poverty. Between 1995 and 2000, coffee accounted for 50 percent of the hard currency generated from exports and 31.5 per cent of the employment in the agricultural sector. The social costs provoked by the steady decrease of international coffee prices had a deep impact in the economy, mainly through the decrease of income generation and employment. 

In this context, the Government of Nicaragua prepared a Strategic plan for the competitive conversion of Nicaraguan coffee production and launched a complementary Coffee Diversification and conversion programme in the areas where coffee production has few market possibilities. The government then requested FAO assistance in order to formulate a coffee diversification and conversion programme.


  • the Government of Nicaragua
  • coffee producers

ACTIVITIES: FAO assistance was provided in order to elaborate a proposal of a future investment programme aimed to promote product diversification in coffee production areas with weak market outlooks and their conversion to other appropriate, sustainable agricultural/ agroforestry/ forestry activities. The programme also aimed at generating diversified income sources for small coffee producers. 
The proposal adopted the Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach developed by FAO. The MA&D framework, adapted to the local conditions and objectives, was considered the appropriate tool to promote the product diversification process and the income generation activities for small and middle coffee producers in Nicaragua.


  • coffee producers with few market perspectives produce other crops and economic activities, either to complement or as a substitute to coffee growing;
  • producers practice sustainable use and management of natural resources to prevent new productive activities from degrading the natural resource base;
  • institutional mechanisms are proposed for the successful implementation of the Programme and for the coordination of institutional actions between different direct stakeholders and with other official programmes or private sector initiatives;
  • technical assistance, training, advice and follow up to organized groups of small and middle coffee producers is provided, in order for them to assess their own assets, constraints, and objectives and therefore develop and implement business plans in accordance with the market opportunities in local, regional, national, and international markets;
  • avoid the traditional practice carried out by some diversification projects which adopt “winner products” that are extensively promoted in the area of influence of the project through technical assistance, input and financing.


last updated:  Tuesday, July 29, 2014