Solar-Roasted Coffee and Economic Development

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November 21, 2019
Carmen sits on a stone wall with Nicaraguan landscape in the background

In the village of El Regadio in Jinotega, Nicaragua, 100 women have banded together to form the Manantial de Virtudes coffee cooperative. These women coffee farmers are led by Carmen, the cooperative's president. She is passionate about rural development and women's empowerment and has succeeded in growing the co-op to its current size. However, up until this year, the co-op didn't have its own roaster and grinder, so the women had to sell their raw coffee beans to companies that would roast them and resell the coffee as their own. 

GRID Alternatives' International Program had already installed solar in 35 homes and the school in El Regadio so Carmen knew where to turn when she wondered how they could power a coffee roaster and grinder for the co-op. In November 2019, a group of GRID volunteers traveled to Nicaragua to install solar for the cooperative, providing solar electricity for their roaster and grinder. 

Manantial de Virtudes coffee logo

Now, the women in the cooperative can roast and grind their coffee themselves, allowing them to sell it at much higher prices. The co-op is even creating their own brand of coffee which they can market and sell directly to consumers, creating jobs and improving incomes in the community of El Regadio. Carmen shared,

"A donation to GRID is very important for this community. It means rural development for families, it means progress, it means income generation as well. That is the way we move forward."

Combined with the hard work of Carmen and the other women in the coffee cooperative, donations to the International Program made this project possible, impacting the women's cooperative and the entire community. 

You can help us continue to improve incomes for women in Nicaragua in 2020!

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To learn more about the solar installation at the coffee cooperative, check out the video below: