Last Updated on August 19, 2021 by Nick Baskett

4C Services and Melitta, Division Coffee, have revealed the beginning of a mutual project devoted to “Improving working and living conditions for coffee smallholders in Colombia.”

The project is co-financed by Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) with funds from the programme of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Jan Rischkopf, Sustainability Manager at Melitta Europa – Coffee Division, said that the company is obtaining 4C certified coffee since the founding of 4C.

The company is annually increasing its percentage of sustainably certified coffee. Melitta Europa-Division Coffee is happy to reach a new level of collaboration with the joint project.

For the company, the improvement of coffee smallholders’ livelihoods in Colombia is essential to guarantee a sustainable supply of Colombian coffee in the future. This argument has been regularly espoused by Bartalks as a practical reason why taking the ethical choice makes commercial sense for organisations.

The project was successfully launched on 15 June 2020. The primary purposes are to:

  • Improve sustainable agricultural management of Colombian coffee smallholder farms
  • Provide constant economic and ecologic viability, thereby increasing attractiveness for young adults, and;
  • Market uptake in Europe.

4C stated that coffee production is one of the most significant agricultural activities for the Colombian economy. Ageing coffee farmers, ecologic and economic challenges, increased by climate change, make coffee production less attractive for smallholders. Young people are leaving the coffee sector for growing other crops or migrate from the land.

Based on a baseline-study, the project is expected to develop and implement an advance programme for the smallholders with the target of long-term viability and the increasing attractiveness of the sector for young people.

Farmers, young people, and other stakeholders in the pilot regions and other interested actors in the industry will be included.

Implementation-oriented training for master trainers, young people and farmers, and the set-up of demonstration farms to serve as farmer field schools will be central to the programme and the connection of more sustainable coffee production to buyers in the European market.

Overall, the project aims to improve many areas, such as strengthening capacity for adaptation to climate change, empowering young people and expanding their working opportunities in the coffee industry, and increasing income diversification to reduce livelihood vulnerability.

The project’s ambitions involve improved access to technical assistance and resources improved collaboration between the coffee producers and industry, enabling increased sustainable coffee production through 4C certification.

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