Adapting their farming methods to the effects of a changing climate is essential for coffee farmers. A toolbox with guidelines, training materials and other information is a means that can help them cope.
The Coffee and Climate initiative assist coffee farmers in adapting to the effects of climate change by combining state of the art climate science with proven farming methods. To do that, they use both public and private sector expertise and funding. The ultimate goal from a development perspective is to improve the livelihoods for the smallholder coffee farmers and their families.
The project combines private sector business experience with Sida’s goal to make sure that smallholder coffee producers and service providers in Tanzania, Guatemala and Vietnam have access to adequate knowledge and instruments. This will enable them to apply and finance effective climate change mitigation strategies to tackle some of the problems faced by small farmers.
Amani Fungo, 29, a coffee farmer in Tanzania, feels the programme assistance has been invaluable.
“We’ve had very drastic changes in our weather and water has begun drying up, especially in some of the rivers. So there is a water shortage. But we’ve improved our methods and found that plants and small bushes can cover the coffee plants that are growing and make it cool for them, so we need less water,” he said. “We learned how to do this through the programme.”
Fungo is married and has a 4-year-old daughter, and says that without this assistance, farming would not have been a viable option for him. But now he helps to support his family with a 6 acres coffee farm.
“We’ve had good training in agricultural practices and marketing. We’ve even formed a producer organisation to help each other with farming practices, to market our coffee, so the programme has been good for us”, Fungo says.
A toolbox on best practice for sustainable coffee farms
The Coffee and Climate programme is about combining climate research and practical experience to develop a globally useful toolbox that can help coffee farmers to adjust to climate change. The toolbox is a compilation of guidelines, training materials and other information to empower farmers to cope. The toolbox addresses the lack of systematically documented information and shared knowledge on good adaptation and mitigation practices in the coffee sector.
The toolbox is a living format and its main purpose is to collect, evaluate, enrich and further develop practices and experiences from the field, and to initiate a collaborative and global learning process. The objective is to consolidate and share knowledge and experiences on climate change adaptation and mitigation so that it can be spread and replicated in other coffee producing areas.
Indeed, coffee represents a major cash income for millions of smallholder famers globally. Both producing countries and industries have been hit by impacts from climate change. This threatens to increase poverty for 25 million coffee farmers, and over 125 million people indirectly or directly who depend on the crop.
Environmentally harmful production practices, together with a lack of technical and commercial knowledge, have in the past made the farming processes both environmentally and financially unsustainable. Climate change has created a further challenge for small farmers. Increasing temperatures and extreme weather events are expected to change conditions for the farmers in many places including Vietnam, Tanzania and Guatemala.
Climate challenges for farmers in Tanzania, Guatemala and Vietnam
In Tanzania, Sida recognizes that the private sector plays a very important role, especially as a capacity builder for poor people’s participation in both global and local markets. A strong private sector that creates growth and employment opportunities for people living in poverty which is the key to achieving poverty alleviation.
In Guatemala, economic growth and increased international trade are key factors in poverty reduction. Measures that strengthen and create opportunities for the private sector in Guatemala and that increase international trade can contribute to such development. Support for the development and strengthening of the local private sector, focusing primarily on small and medium size enterprise and rural development – is very important.
The same ideas lies behind the intervention in Vietnam, as it stresses the Swedish environmental and climate change priority while strengthening the management of a sustainable use of natural resources. It also emphasizes an increased awareness and capacity to cope with the impact of climate change.
The Coffee and Climate initiative is a partnership between a group of leading European coffee industry partners including Löfbergs Lila from Sweden .All of the companies involved in the initiative have identified climate change as a key challenge in coffee production and are therefore interested in promoting sustainable practices in the coffee sector globally. The initiative is also supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
This type of commitment and input from private sector partners is a central tenet in Sida’s program for collaboration with the private sector. The initiative is sector-wide and open to more partners to join. The intention is to replicate and use the toolbox in many different places.
"We are thrilled about Sida's involvement. This is an important project and I am confident Sida's knowledge and experience will contribute in a positive way," Kathrine Löfberg, communications director at Löfbergs, says. "We want to contribute to sustainable development for both people and the environment. It is also about creating conditions for future generations to continue cultivating coffee. "
1. The aim is to increase the capacity among farmers in three countries; Tanzania, Guatemala and Vietnam, to adapt to, and mitigate current and future climate change.
2. Combine state of the art climate change science and proven farming methods, offering practical, hands-on and applicable tools.
3. Form a network of all relevant stakeholders in the field applying a 360° approach including the entire value chain.
4. Consolidate experiences of farmers and their partners in developing strategies for adapting coffee production to changing climatic conditions in a toolbox which shall make the knowledge gained in pilot projects available to all participants in the coffee sector
The Coffee and Climate initiative total project cost amount to an estimated 1.65 million Euros (14 million SEK), of which about 4 million SEK is coming from Sida.
- Climate change adaptation measures are expected to help farmers further reduce production costs, increase yields, strengthen their organizations and improve access to markets.
- The implementation of tools for climate change adaptation in coffee production will increase the farmer's adaptive capacity, their resilience to climate change, the security of their livelihoods, and the well-being of their families.
- Stakeholders within the pilot regions will increase their capacity to respond to climate change; assist farmers in climate change adaptation, and enable farmers to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon footprint in coffee production and processing.
The initiative is implemented within ongoing support to coffee farmers in Tanzania offered by the foundation Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung in cooperation with committed private and public partners.The project is closely aligned with Swedish policies that emphasize the importance of capacity development.