IIC holds workshops for coffee producers and cooperatives in rural Guatemala


The technical assistance sessions have been designed to help local coffee producers start exporting or enhance their existing exports to Italy

Huehuetenango, Guatemala – On May 17, 2010, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) will host the first of a series of technical assistance workshops for small and medium size coffee producers in Guatemala City, Huehuetenango, Olopa, and Antigua. An Italian coffee expert consultant, Mrs. Ilaria Danesi, will lead intensive presentations and give advice on quality control, proper roasting techniques, sales channels, and competitive marketing strategies. Following the workshops, several cooperatives, including a women’s cooperative, will receive direct technical assistance on how to prepare their coffee products for sale in the demanding Italian market.

"This is a very exciting initiative that will host our efforts with small and medium-size coffee producers, associations, and cooperatives to improve their globalization process and learn more about Italian market requirements in terms of quality standards and distribution channels," stated Rodolfo González Arenas, general manager of the Guatemalan national coffee association (Anacafé).

This is the sixth of nine Finpyme ExportPlus workshops that the IIC is organizing in Guatemala as part of the World Trade Organization’s Aid for Trade Initiative. The Finpyme ExportPlus program workshops cover diverse topics, such as labeling requirements, export management, organic production, and productivity improvement that are important for SMEs, specifically those in sectors such as leather manufacturing, agriculture, coffee, and wood products. In addition to group workshops, experts provide two types of assistance: direct assistance to SMEs so they can improve their competitiveness and their export capacity, and technical assistance for individual firms for trade certifications and improvements in processing and management. Finpyme ExportPlus in Guatemala is funded by the Government of Italy.

"In a pragmatic approach, Finpyme ExportPlus is helping SMEs improve their access to the international markets. It matches objectives from the macroinitiative Aid for Trade that is helping developing countries participate more fully in the global trading system. Guatemala has been a great opportunity for the development of the program. This particular coffee initiative will connect the producers of some of the world’s best coffee to the large Italian consumer market," according to Antonello Bove, Finpyme ExportPlus program leader.

The IIC is a multilateral financial institution that is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group. The IIC’s mission is to promote the economic development of its regional member countries by encouraging the establishment, expansion, and modernization of private enterprises, particularly those that are small and medium in size. It does so by providing financing (in the form of equity investments, loans, guarantees, and other instruments) and advisory services to private enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2009, the IIC reached US$1.4 billion in assets and approved 40 operations channeling US$299.8 million to SMEs in the region. For more information on the IIC’s activities, please visit www.iic.int.

Contact: Antonello Bove

Telephone: (202) 623-3905

Email: antonellob@iadb.org