New programme for climate-smart agriculture in coffee

Solidaridad starts a new programme for climate-smart production of coffee. In recent years pilot projects showed interesting opportunities in the coffee production in Latin America. Those opportunities can now be further explored with support from the Norwegian agency for development cooperation (Norad).

The new three year programme was kicked off at the Specialty coffee association of America (April 11-14). While starting the new programme Solidaridad is looking for new partners in the industry to develop new climate-smart coffee products.

Exploring new strategies

Pilot projects in recent years resulted in different strategies to work on climate-smart agriculture. These strategies will be explored simultaneously in the new programme. They include: 

  • reduction of expansion of agricultural systems into forests
  • improve productivity of coffee smallholder systems
  • increase resilience of farming systems to climate change (adaptation)
  • increase revenue streams for climate-smart agriculture (e.g. through carbon credits)
  • increase the knowledge base and use of knowledge about climate-smart agriculture (CSA)

Forests are vast collections of carbon, stored both in the trees themselves and in the soil. Deforestation releases the carbon stored in forest ecosystems. Avoiding tropical deforestation worldwide could prevent up to 20% of carbon dioxide emissions and protect biodiversity. Deforestation for coffee production causes emissions of 76 million tons of CO2/year. Farmers have fewer incentives to cut forests when agricultural land stays fertile and profitable. Therefore a major strategy for climate smart agriculture (CSA) is to increase productivity and revenues in coffee production. Climate change is a major cause of lower agricultural productivity. Therefore mitigation of risks like draught and floods are another strategy for CSA. Solidaridad and its partners are specialists in productivity, having 25 years of experience in sustainable certification. 

8.000 farmers avoid and sequester 220.000 MT CO2 per year

Solidaridad launched activities in Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Activities on demonstration farms include improved soil management, reduced fertilizer application, better waste-water management in post-harvest facilities, optimizing shade tree planting and renovation of ageing farms. The three year and 4.4 million euro programme will involve almost 8,000 farmers on 12,500 hectares who avoid emissions and sequester CO2 for a total of 220,000 MT of CO2 per year. 180 agricultural extension workers will be trained in using CSA tools and new knowledge of better practices will be shared with relevant actors: Carbon credit standards (VCS, Gold Standard, CCBA), agricultural certification schemes (Fairtrade, Utz Certified, Rainforest Alliance and Organic) and national climate and development initiatives. This can bring climate smart agriculture practices to scale. 

Helping industry to develop climate-smart products

Solidaridad builds sustainable supply chains with the commitment of producers, trade and companies in the consumer market. Finding new ways out of the climate crisis needs involvement of all actors involved in productive sectors in the economy. Solidaridad therefore invites coffee roasters to join the programme and develop new climate-smart products.