Since 2019, the Youth in Agribusiness project, funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has transformed the reality of young people with few opportunities in western Honduras by linking them to education, internships and vocational training. To date, more than 90 youth have received technical and agriculture training to meet market demand. Training has included climate change responsiveness, technology utilization, water and soil management, and specialized trade skills in coffee roasting, horticulture, meat processing and fish farming, among others. Youth have implemented 17 local environmental action plans in partnership with municipal environmental offices.
The project engages directly with the Honduran private sector to connect young people to formal employment. More than 40 youth, 40% of whom are women, have been linked to formal job opportunities. Eighty young people were also trained in business development and are organized into 20 collective enterprises across six value chains: beekeeping, coffee, dairy, poultry, fish and sweets.
The youth-led coffee microenterprise PROJADEG (Guisayote Coffee Processing Company of Youth Entrepreneurs) has already roasted 2,000 pounds of coffee and marketed more than 600 pounds of coffee of its own brand, earning a gross income of over $3,000.
Andrea Aguilar Ramirez, a 19-year-old Honduran coffee farmer in the project and president of PROJADEG, is hopeful for the future, “Through Lutheran World Relief’s Youth in Agribusiness project, our microenterprise received financial support, equipment and training in good agricultural practices increasing our sales and the services we offer.” Furthermore, Andrea and her fellow entrepreneurs are thinking critically about the environmental impact of the coffee sector, “Sustainability of the coffee sector means that coffee can be cultivated in a way that takes care of the environment by using proper agricultural practices while at the same time coffee producers can achieve better livelihoods.”