How DeLaFinca is ‘Going for the Goals’ in Nicaragua’s Agri-food Sector

Above: (From left to right) Mayerling Gurdian and Heberto Rivas, founders of DeLaFinca Specialty Coffee

International Development Week in Canada takes place from Feb 5-11th this year. This week, MEDA will examine several key themes, including the role of localization, biodiversity, gender equality and social inclusion, and market systems.

Recognizing DeLaFinca’s entrepreneurial achievement

Yesterday, DeLaFinca Specialty Coffee was named “Central America’s SME of the Year” out of 400 other regional companies. DeLaFinca was recognized for its consistent growth and innovation, women’s leadership, positive gender equality and environmental impact, community contributions, and for generating well-being in its operations.

Sponsored by BAC Credomatic, a leading private bank in Central America, the announcement marks the first time a Nicaraguan company has received the award. It is significant for Nicaraguans since it recognizes the resilience of entrepreneurs like DeLaFinca founders Mayerling Gurdián and Heberto Rivas, who have tirelessly grown their business in the face of daunting challenges such as socio-political crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, hurricanes, and global inflation.

The award is a significant honor for this small company. Not only does it position them as an industry leader in a market dominated by larger companies, but it affirms DeLaFinca’s values and approaches that prioritize small-scale producers, gender equality, and the environment.

Above: (From left to right) Mayerling Gurdian and Heberto Rivas founders of DeLaFinca Specialty Coffee

MEDA’s work with DeLaFinca

In 2019, MEDA’s Technolinks+ project began supporting DeLaFinca to take its farm-based coffee production operation to the next level by launching a group of new coffee shops. Through the generous support of Global Affairs Canada, MEDA worked with Gurdián and Rivas to develop a shared vision for a partnership that would see the company expand decent work opportunities for DeLaFinca staff and its small-scale coffee producer suppliers. MEDA was particularly interested in how the company’s growth would benefit women, youth, and the environment. The founders invest significant time and resources to strengthen the abilities of small-scale coffee producers to produce higher-quality, environmentally sustainable coffee that can compete in a competitive market while earning more income.

The company grew from 9 to 65 employees in just three years. Young people hold all new jobs, and young women hold half. And by working with small-scale coffee producer suppliers, DeLaFinca has challenged traditional gender norms, encouraging women and young people to step into new roles, such as coffee roasting, which is typically a role reserved for men.

DeLaFinca is on a trajectory to grow even more. According to Gurdián, most of the factors highlighted for receiving the historic SME award were strengthened through the financial and technical assistance received from Technolinks+.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

The Technolinks+ project is an example of MEDA’s overarching goal to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Yet, MEDA’s support of DeLaFinca shows that each SDG goal does not stand on its own- each one supports the achievement of the other. We strongly believe that we can’t reach any of these goals without addressing them collectively – economic, social, and environmental impacts are inextricably linked. In fact, without a ‘triple impact’ approach, it’s unlikely that the SDGs will be met. Sustainable food production systems, climate-resilient agricultural practices, improved agricultural productivity, and increased incomes for food sector workers and small-scale producers depend on positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes.

DeLaFinca’s achievements are an example of how technical assistance and finance can help support the growth of inclusive agri-food sector enterprises. Their success is contributes to fulfilling our strategic plan of creating or sustaining decent work for 500,000 people by 2030. #Goforthegoals

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  • Jorge Luis González Calderón

    Project Field Manager, Technolinks+. Jorge is an experienced professional with over ten years of experience in the NGO sector, working with organizations that promote entrepreneurship, SME development, social responsibility, youth leadership, access to justice, and education.

    View all posts
  • Jennifer King

    Former Technical Director, Market Systems. Jennifer is a sustainable development professional with technical and programmatic expertise in agri-food market systems and private sector development, women’s economic empowerment (WEE), and marketing and communications in various regions including Canada, South Asia, Nicaragua, and Africa. Jennifer currently leads MEDA's Market Systems Technical Unit. Previously, she managed a six-year women's economic empowerment and agri-food project in Myanmar.

    View all posts
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