We worked with nine lead auditors and 50 public, private and civil society actors in three countries to drive the RSPO Principles & Criteria National Interpretations. Guatemalan and Honduran working groups collaborated remotely in a total of 57 webinars and led public consultations through the MAPA online platform. Nicaragua began with 15 workgroup meetings.
Conservation in the Palm sector
In Honduras, we trained 12 oil palm companies in zero-deforestation verification procedures. We provided biological monitoring and training to protect and conserve more than 15,000 hectares. In Guatemala, we continued to strengthen a remediation and compensation mechanism that protects and conserves 28,000 hectares in Laguna del Tigre National Park.
In Mexico, Comon Yaj Noptic Cooperative fully adopted the climate-smart coffee model, expanding from 10 to 456 producers/workers implementing the model, who improved average productions from six to 13 qq/ha. We began replicating the model in Nicaragua, by training 35 Mercon partner technicians who will later replicate with farmers.
Coffee and gender
In Honduras, we led and supported the development, articulation and approval of the national gender policy within the coffee value chain by liaising with the public sector, CSOs and other actors through the national chapter of the Global Coffee Platform, Plataforma de Café Sostenible de Honduras (Sustainable Coffee Platform of Honduras).
We partnered with Coca-Cola, Barry Callebaut and CNPR, the Mexican farmers’ association, to pilot a responsible recruitment programme. PanameriCaña developed a programme guide focused on preventing forced and child labour and promoting gender inclusion, health and safety programmes, social security coverage and many other fair labour practices.
Good practices in Sugar
We trained 874 producers, technicians and workers from Plan de San Luis Sugar Mill (PIASA Group, Mexico) through the Bayer MAS-CAÑA project to produce sustainable sugarcane more efficiently. The project installed 49 demonstration plots that helped model best practices that ultimately resulted in producers improving productivities by 20 percent on 5,438 hectares.
In Nicaragua, we modeled best practices for producers and promoters in demonstration plots and field schools. We further trained promoters to adopt technology and help farmers solve day to day production problems. Cocoa farmers leverage newly certified (Rainforest Alliance) cooperatives —where sales increased by 118 percent in 2020— to market their production.
Through a pilot programme in Nicaragua, we co-established a zero-deforestation livestock platform, alongside stakeholders from the private and public sectors, producer organizations and CSOs. We carried out a feasibility study for diversifying livestock farms with cocoa, including research and analysis of national policies pertaining to the proposed solution.
A deep dive
Bringing people together
We worked across value chains to engage actors in critical conversations about climate, livelihoods, and sustainability. With significant strides made in each area, the stage is set for transformative change in the coming years.
Most Significant Changes
Building cocoa smallholder capacities strengthens family income
Solidaridad builds smallholder cocoa farmers’ capacities, so they can take full advantage of landscapes and increase their incomes.
Stakeholders collaboration for sector transformation in palm oil
Through the Mesoamerican Palm Oil Alliance, MAPA, Solidaridad gathers more than 55,000 stakeholders along the entire palm oil supply chain in the region—from small- and large-scale producers and extraction plants to buyers and civil society.
Tech for transformation in sugar
Through PanameriCaña, Solidaridad uses experience exchanges, international conferences and other methods to engage stakeholders in meaningful conversations about sustainable production, the reduction of environmental impacts, and social and labour issues.
Challenging the status quo
Although Covid-19 created challenges in carrying out our planned activities, we were able to adapt and leverage both our on the ground presence and digital tools to continue meaningful engagement with smallholders.
Organization & governance
Raising the bar
In 2020, we contributed to the policies around gender equity and inclusivity, which spanned the whole organization from staff to programmes and partners. We built new partnerships and strengthened existing ones, allowing us to amplify impact through collaboration.
Solidaridad maintained a similar budget level to prior years in the region but greatly increased fundraising efforts independent from our European and North American offices. To respond to increased demand from the Mexican private sector, a for-profit entity was established that will facilitate invoicing and service-delivery. The regional finance team was strengthened through ongoing participation in the global finance team and grew with the addition of a regional financial controller based in Mexico. Private sector co-financing remains an important contribution to our project implementation. The regional team contributes to and has advanced on the implementation of network-wide financial control systems, including Financial Force and Plaza.
We invested heavily in big-bet opportunities in 2020, with an increased focus on climate finance. A regional team developed a proposal for the NAMA Facility to catalyze transformation in the Honduran palm oil sector toward low-emissions technology and renewable energy generation. The team garnered the support of multiple ministry partners, the palm sector and key financing partners in Honduras, and the proposal was shortlisted for an in-depth assessment. In the coming years, we will prioritize similar big-bet “disruptive” opportunities that combine integrated and multidisciplinary approaches to improving production, with policy support and financing for impact, such as climate mitigation and adaptation.
In addition to the NAMA Facility, we pursued opportunities with new donors such as the Julius Baer Foundation, and contributed to winning proposals with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Global Environment Facility. The proposals submitted during 2020 pursue adequate funding to construct a short- to mid-term landscape and climate change programme in the region.
We intend to build out our successful payment-for-service model in Mexico with the sugar cane sector and adapt it to other regional commodities as a funding diversification effort.
The team is pleased to continue collaborating with public and private-sector partners who have provided invaluable support over the past several years, including Coca Cola, Cargill, AAK, RSPO, Henkel, Bayer, Barry Callebaut, among others.