Why Bet on the Digitalization of Cooperatives in C...

Why Bet on the Digitalization of Cooperatives in Central America?

Digital Coffee Future created the Digital Origin Education Program (DOEP) as a commitment to the development of the coffee industry in producing countries. The use of digital tools in a consensual and contextualized way is an opportunity to make the coffee value chain more sustainable.  

photo / Digital Coffee Future

During six weeks between September and October, two DOEP courses were held in Central America supported by the Neumann Foundation and The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH/ INATrace/ HondurasGIZ with the intention of guiding 20 cooperatives in their process of making digitalization a strategic value in their organizations. 

This program was carried out with managers and representatives of cooperatives in Guatemala and Honduras. During six weeks, they learned why the digitalization of their coffee processes is a potential tool in their efforts to grow and strengthen their organizations and they were guided in the construction of their digitization plans, recognizing the assets that the organization has and the real possibilities of implementing projects of this type.

In the words of Marisol Velásquez of the coffee cooperative COCREBISTOL in Honduras: “I believe that each coffee company will be strengthened in the different processes it carries out. We have received a very interesting and innovative training process. We have learned a lot about digitalization and digitization, which if we apply it will allow us to have the necessary information on time and also reduce working hours. Personally, it has helped me to learn many new and handy tools. This training has become a strength for my company”.

DOEP tasks focused on the needs of the cooperatives and the breaking down of their process from the digitalization point of view, following a step-by-step approach. For example, process mapping allowed them to recognize what activities they are performing, what information they are collecting, which actors are involved, and how to improve this process flow.

This training was also an opportunity to learn from other cooperatives, create community and connect with other professionals working on digitalization issues. This is what Gerson Solórzano from UnioCasmo says: “In this exchange process with DOEP and various other cooperatives, my learning has been positive. I have gained knowledge of the different tools and strategies that can be used for digitizing documents that our organization carries out daily and understood its importance”.

photo / Digital Coffee Future

Nowadays, the needs of coffee cooperatives are very diverse Their biggest challenges are digitizing certifications, producer information, and quality control, among others. In the virtual classes, they shared with the group their personal experiences with audits and their urge to make the process more efficient. Other cooperatives, on the other hand, wanted to automate some steps of their internal business operations, such as the delivery of coffee by producers. Digitalization can support them in keeping individual records and consolidating data by month and year. From there, cooperatives can make recommendations to producers individually based on the collected records from various years and, also, use the information to improve decisions on what actions are more strategic for next season’s implementation to better support their members.

Arnold Alvarado from the cooperative Puringla Café, tells us about his experience during the course that; “Digitalization is a process that is very important to be able to have positive results in each process of the companies. DOEP is a program that allows us to carry out these processes through digitalization; using methods, programs, and applications with which we can streamline our processes”. 

Six weeks of successful exchange and knowledge of the different realities of producing countries from the lens of digitization reiterates why Digital Coffee Future will continue to scale its education process in the coming year. It is a concrete and powerful way to support small producers in more than 70 producing countries.

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About Digital Coffee Future

Digital Coffee Future is an interactive virtual community where any coffee actor can exchange knowledge and learn about tools used in coffee digitalization. Founded in 2020, DCF brings together farmer organizations, traders, roasters, NGOs, public institutions, tech providers, academics, baristas and individual coffee professionals by creating a neutral and pre-competitive space to discuss how both digital and non-digital interventions can come together and complement one another to forge a more solid strategy for the future of coffee. For more information about DCF and DOEP, email