Regenerative agriculture, decent income for coffee producers in Mexico

Solidaridad has teamed up with Nestlé to develop a programme for implementing regenerative agriculture practices to improve incomes in the Mexican coffee sector. This four-year pilot project will take place in Jaltenango, Chiapas and San Luis Acatlán, Guerrero.

Nestlé’s Nescafé Plan operates in over 186 countries and collaborates with more than 100,000 coffee producers. Mexico is one of the largest consumers of Nescafé Clásico instant coffee, and the company has two large industrial plants in the country. Chiapas and Guerrero, the two regions selected for the pilot, are sources for the natural Arabica used in Nestcafé. 

Our mission is to enable small producers to earn a decent income, build their own future, and produce in balance with nature.

This collaboration builds on Solidaridad previous experience, including a successful climate-smart project with coffee producers in Mexico. That project responded to producers’ need to become more competitive, resilient, and aware of how their practices can impact the environment. 

“Like Solidaridad, Nestlé in its Nescafé Plan 2030 seeks to achieve decent income, implement regenerative agriculture practices, and reduce carbon emissions in the coffee sector. This allows producers and nature to thrive together.” 

Javier Anaya, Project Officer, Solidaridad México 

Solidaridad’s collaboration with Nestlé has concrete goals:

  • Increase current productivity by 20% in Chiapas and 100% in Guerrero. 
  • Analyze the income of the two regions and compare current net incomes with the decent income levels in México and understand drivers of the gap between the two.
  • Train small producers in regenerative agriculture practices and provide them with incentives, so that they can improve soil fertility and make a decent living from coffee. 

Coffee’s potential in regenerative agriculture 

Solidaridad has 4 pillars that support the implementation of regenerative agriculture through technical assistance. These consist of group training, individual technical assistance, demonstration plots and digital solutions. 

Nestle’s “FAT” digital tool rates regenerative agriculture practices; based on its results, smallholders will receive incentives for the implementation of good practices. 

According to Nestle’s  Nestcafé Plan 2030, “regenerative agriculture is an approach to farming that aims to improve soil health and fertility, and protect water resources and biodiversity. Healthier soils are more resilient to the impacts of climate change and can increase yields, which helps improve producers’ livelihoods.”

The positive effects of regenerative practices include:

  • Less deforestation 
  • Less water use
  • Fewer pests and diseases 
  • A lower carbon footprint
  • Higher productivity and product quality
  • Lower risk and costs for investors 
  • The ability to replicate the programme elsewhere.

Placing producers at the center of our initiatives. 

The collaboration between Solidaridad and Nestlé aims to reach 1,000 coffee producers in Mexico. Technicians have started replicating regenerative agriculture and climate-smart agriculture practices in the communities. The programme runs through 2027.

Field technicians belong to the communities where they work and speak the indigenous language of the regions they serve. 

Along with the benefits of producing more sustainably, producers will be able to sell their coffee under the 4C seal that certifies good social, economic and environmental practices in the coffee sector. Nestlé will reward producers for complying with the 4C code of conduct.

“I am excited to see regenerative agriculture grow and scale up in two large parts of Mexico. This pilot has the capacity to be replicated nationally and internationally – we look forward to continuing growing together!” said Javier Anaya, Project Officer, Solidaridad Mexico