From the Field, News, All the Rest

Friday, September 23, 2022

Sustainability in Action

Our teams continue to work towards innovative solutions to some of today’s biggest issues in the coffee industry and beyond. Together with our supply chain partners and sister companies, we’re endeavoring to create a more equitable and sustainable supply chain. Here’s our Q3 2022 sustainability round-up.

Improving Coffee Yield and Quality

Many of the projects we’re working on directly impact coffee quality and yields for farmers in our supply chains. Here are some of the latest news and updates.

In response to the impact of climate change on coffee production in Indonesia, Sucafina Indonesia is collaborating with the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) and World Coffee Research (WCR) to trial a newer coffee variety in West Java. The varieties currently grown in West Java are not as well suited to high-altitude, densely-forested conditions and aren’t resistant to changing conditions like drought and excessive rainfall. An estimated 500 to 600 farmers can visit this trial plot each quarter to observe the progress of this variety and learn how to implement the practices used on the demo plot.

RWACOF (Sucafina in Rwanda) started working with the London School of Economics (LSE) on mapping farmer plots in 2021. More recently, they’ve focused on building relationships and trust with partners in the context of low literacy and low digitalization in Rwanda. Together, they are working on building a loyalty program to support farmers in increasing yields and quality and to help them to better access the many services available to them, including low-cost tree seedlings, income diversification training, interest-free loans and more.

Increasing Farmer Incomes

While increasing yields and quality can also increase farmer livelihoods, improving the coffee supply chain is about more than just improving quality and yield. It’s about ensuring that coffee farmers are making livable incomes and are able to live healthy, happy lives. Our origin offices have been hard at work building new partnerships that aim to do just that.

In Kenya, a new project with The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) supports farmers who are cultivating other crops alongside their coffee trees. With partial financial support from IDH, Sucafina Kenya will help coffee farmers access services and agronomic advice for other cash and subsistence crops, facilitate market access for these crops and share information about regenerative agriculture farming systems. Sucafina Kenya also partnered with Real IPM, a service provider that sells biopesticide products, like mites, that can work in place of synthetic pesticides. They also offer products like pheromones, vermiculture (worm composting) materials and more.

In Uganda,Sucafina Uganda (Ugacof) has been working with Sawa World to support coffee farmers, especially women and young people, as they build new small businesses and improve their livelihoods. The project, which concluded in July 2022, helped to train 373 registered Sucafina Uganda farmers in Central Uganda. Those farmers were able to access training and received low-cost startup materials to start their own micro businesses.

Kahawatu Foundation successfully completed CSV II (Creating Shared Value), a collaboration with RWACOF, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and a key stakeholder. The project impacted over 10,000 coffee farming households. It introduced farming families to additional income-generating areas, such as soap making, chicken rearing and more. Then, the project helped establish 80 Village Savings and Loans (VSLAs) to save over US$57,850 that can be loaned to members at fair rates. They also ran trainings about gender equality and family power dynamics, which led to many changes, including 98% of farmers reporting that gender-based violence had decreased and 588 families that now have weekly family meetings. Farmers also now have greater access to loans and are using that access to start new businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, beer breweries and more.

Expanding Organic Certification

Improving the coffee supply chain also means making it more sustainable. Two new supply chains in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are now Organic certified! The two supply chains are in Morobe Province and there are plans to certify additional supply chains. A significant portion of smallholder coffee farmers in PNG are organic-by-default, but this Organic certification helps them access new markets and receive a premium for their coffee, all while assuring consumers that their coffees are produced in line with Organic standards. Roasters interested in learning more about expected volumes and availability should get in touch with their trader.

This is just a small peek at the many socially- and environmentally-focused projects in which Sucafina is engaged. Want to get involved? Contact your trader to see what projects you can support through social premiums or a lump sum. Keep an eye out for more updates.