DUTCH DREAM FUND INVESTS IN FARMERS TO CONNECT WITH CARBON MARKETS

Over the next four years the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund investment will allow us to collaborate with cocoa, coffee and fruit producers in Colombia, Kenya, Nicaragua and Uganda to improve their quality of life thanks to additional income earned on the international carbon market.

Coffee farmers stand next to their crops in Colombia

With an investment of 12.7 million euros from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, Solidaridad and partners Cool Farm Alliance, Fair Food, Rabobank and &ranj, will support 100,000 farmers to practise carbon farming.

In Colombia alone Solidaridad expects to support 25,000 coffee farmers, granting them access to carbon credit markets.

“This investment from the Dream Fund will allow us to expand our current work from one to six departments in Colombia by 2025. This will mean an increasing number of producers can sell their carbon stocks to international buyers, such as Microsoft, providing them with an additional income for their services in mitigating climate change”, explains Solidaridad country manager in Colombia, Joel Brounen.

Solidaridad will support coffee growers with fewer than 10 hectares from Risaralda, Antioquia, Caldas, Huila, Tolima and Cauca departments to switch to agroforestry production models and reduce their carbon footprint. Then, through the ACORN platform developed by Rabobank, using Microsoft technology, they will be able to sell the sequestered carbon emissions on the international market. 

We will work closely with traders, producer cooperatives and associations in Colombia to ensure that 80 percent of the value of emissions sold will reach the farmers and their families. The initiative has a long-term focus, providing participating producers and partners with a wide array of untapped opportunities to develop and optimize climate-related services for farmers and the coffee industry.

The best technology to capture carbon is nature itself, and the best way to do it is through agroforestry. As simple and natural as it sounds, growing trees brings about countless benefits to crops, to the soil and to producers alike.

Joel Brounen, SOLIDARIDAD COUNTRY MANAGER IN COLOMBIA

Coffee is the main source of income for more than 540,000 families in Colombia and it provides 720,000 direct jobs in 602 municipalities. The livelihoods of over 2.5 million people in Colombia are dependent on this crop. Despite its importance for the rural economy of Colombia, according to researchers from the National Coffee Federation, more than 30 percent of coffee growers state that their income does not cover their living expenses. Climate change poses a great challenge for millions of farmers in Colombia. It affects the productivity and suitability of coffee plantations in over 50 percent of growing areas. Extreme weather events due to the El Niño and La Niña phenomena have increased the climate risks for coffee growers. 

For over 10 years Solidaridad has been supporting smallholder producers in different supply chains to make their farms more productive and in balance with nature. We’ve worked with multiple roasters, traders, cooperatives and producers to switch to agroforestry and to use regenerative practices. This has allowed more than 10,000 farmers to become more resilient to climate change, and obtain more decent livelihoods for their families. 

“The best technology to capture carbon is nature itself, and the best way to do it is through agroforestry. As simple and natural as it sounds, growing trees brings about countless benefits to crops, to the soil and to producers alike. To foster this change, Solidaridad provides technical assistance, training, inputs and support to make transactions in the ACORN platform,” explains Brounen.

Solidaridad is working on this initiative with Rabobank, who developed the ACORN platform using Microsoft’s Azure technology, artificial intelligence and satellite images. Additionally, through a partnership with the Cool Farm Alliance, we help farmers measure the carbon captured on their farms, and register the emission reductions following an insetting perspective in the Beyco platform, a direct global independent coffee connection and trading scheme developed by Progreso.

The support of Dutch Postcode Lottery is a key endorsement of the fair value proposition behind ACORN. Eighty percent of the price paid for carbon emissions on the international market directly reaches the producers’ pockets.

Agroforestry models are win-win deals that enhance better yields, reduce climate risks and offer increasing earnings through carbon sales.

Carlos Isaza, manager of Solidaridad’s coffee programme in Colombia

“With the help of the Dream Fund we are proud to offer this opportunity to the smallest coffee growers. This is but a small reward for the great contribution our farmers make, not only to supply one of the best coffees in the world, but also to fight climate change. Agroforestry models are win-win deals that enhance better yields, reduce climate risks and offer increasing earnings through carbon sales”, affirms Carlos Isaza, manager of the coffee programme in Colombia. 

EXPECTED GLOBAL RESULTS OF THE PROJECT

  • 100,000 producers supported
  • 1.98 million tCO2 carbon sequestered and reduced
  • 110,000 hectares under sustainable management
  • 15 to 20 percent yield increase in coffee

A BIT OF CONTEXT

  • Experts say that rising temperatures will reduce the area suitable for growing coffee by up to 50 percent by 2050. As lower areas become unfit for coffee, the pressure to migrate to higher fields puts at risk Andean and sub-Andean forests. 
  • Many companies have set goals to reduce the carbon footprint in their supply chains by 2030. These companies are willing to buy carbon credits, through platforms such as ACORN, to compensate for their present and past emissions.
  • The Dutch National Postcode Lottery was created in 1989 to support charitable causes. Around 2.5 million people play the lottery annually, not just for the possibility of winning a prize, but to back these causes, as half the price of each ticket is donated to organizations that work in favor of humanity and the environment. 

For more information our work with the Dream Fund, contact Annelot van Leeuwen.

For more information about our coffee programme in Colombia, contact Carlos Isaza.