Improving rural livelihoods through promoting high-quality coffee and coffee cherry products in the origin countries Colombia and Bolivia

How can livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers in Colombia and Bolivia be improved through the scaling-up to high-quality coffee products?


Coffee has a significant trade value internationally, while origin countries principally export green beans, and coffee farmers receive only about 0.5-1% of the generated value of the final cup. This trend puts rural livelihoods at risk and endangers the future of coffee production by rural families, who increasingly engage in off-farm activities and migrate to urban areas. To improve the livelihoods perspectives of smallholder coffee farmers, the proposed project will generate and promote knowledge in origin countries on domestic quality markets, increased added value of coffee and coffee cherry products for coffee farmers and their organisations within origin countries and beyond.

The project will put particular emphasis on developing and implementing strategies as well as related policies in origin countries and internationally. Together with project’s local partners, the research team will study the market- and livelihoods potential of high- quality coffee and coffee cherry products in two South American origin countries, where quality coffee value chains are emerging (Colombia), and where coffee cherry products (e.g. tea from dried coffee pulp) have been traditionally consumed, while high-quality coffee production and marketing are still in their infancies (Bolivia).

While the project is mainly aimed at livelihood improvements at the local level, the research is expected to improve also the positioning of the two origin countries in taking benefits of opportunities in export niche markets, e.g. for specialty coffee and coffee cherry products. Not only will a larger share of the added value be retained with the farmers in the origin countries, but also will the value of the final product increase and hence benefit various stakeholders.


  • Migration
  • Rural development
  • Coffee
  • Quality
  • Smallholder Empowerment
  • Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Policy decision support


  • Agriculture
  • Chemistry
  • Development
  • Economics
  • Sociology


International Organisations

  • FAO Bolivia

NGOs, States or other institutions

  • Slow Food Bolivia
  • The Global Coffee Platform
  • Decintec
  • Café Munaipata, Bolivia
  • Mild Coffee Company Huila, Colombia
  • Murg Coffee, Colombia

Relevant Countries

  • Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Switzerland


This is an ongoing project, which started in autumn 2017. The information here is updated regularly. If you have any inquiries please don’t hesitate to contact the project team via the form below.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Chahan Yeretzian
Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW

Sebastian Opitz
Principal Member
Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW

Nelson Gutiérrez Guzmán
Principa Member
Universidad Surcolombiana

Sabine Stauffacher
Principal Member
Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW

Stephan Rist
University of Berne

Ariel Hernan Romero Sanchez
Principal Member
Slow Food

Johanna Jacobi
Principal Member
University of Berne