Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by Nick Baskett
The Alliance for Resilient Coffee (ARC) has developed knowledge and tools to make coffee climate-smart during 4 years of in-the-field project work. As their project concludes, they say it is now upon the coffee industry to be ready to utilise the power of partnerships and make good use of these tools.
Climate change is threatening coffee production worldwide, and without direct action, will continue to threaten the global coffee supply chain for years to come.
With such a large, amorphous problem such as rising temperatures, variable rainfall and harder to control pests and diseases, individuals within the coffee sector may not know where to start.
Through the consolidation of knowledge and climate expertise between partners and private sector companies, The Alliance for Resilient Coffee claims it’s proven the global coffee supply chain can become climate-smart and families can be empowered to mitigate climate threats. It published the results which we’ve summarised for you below.
We want to note that unfortunately, the numbers on the website do not correlate with the numbers in the press release. Where they have differed, we have used the press release as it’s likely to be more up to date.
Bartalks had one question that immediately jumped to the front of our minds. With all the current concern over climate change and coffee, isn’t it an odd time to conclude this project?
Using a zoom in holistic approach, we provide different scales of analysis and practical expertise throughout the coffee value chain to make coffee climate – smart.
ARC was able to teach Bartalks a few new lessons in management buzzwords, although we’re not sure how you get a more holistic approach by zooming in.
ARC is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and comprised of seven leading partners; Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), Sustainable Food Lab (SFL), World Coffee Research( WCR), The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Conservation International(CI)and Root Capital.
As part of the U.S. Government’s food security initiative, ‘Feed the Future‘, ARC developed tools such as country profiles, landscape assessments and a vulnerability tool to provide the sector and smallholders with clear guidance on how to mitigate changing climates.
As of August 2020, the project reached a total of 6,530 smallholder families, including the participation of 2,100 women and 750 youths.
Throughout the last four years, ARC increased private sector engagement and encouraged the uptake of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in Uganda, Guatemala and Honduras.
Partnerships with roasters, traders and other companies in the sector such as Lavazza, Peet’s Coffee, Mercon Coffee Group, InterAmerican Coffee and Unex, allowed for the assembling of tools, methodologies, and approaches to asses climate risks.
Private sector funding and cooperation with these companies also led to the testing of new farming techniques and strengthening of farmer’s resilience through practical trainings on CSA.
As a result, climate-smart practices were implemented in over 4,650 hectares of farmland, 441 Demonstration Plots that promote good agricultural and climate adaptation practices were established and 24 On Farm Technology Trials (OFTT)to measure the productivity of improved varieties were set up.
A total number of 1,450 training events on climate adaptation were carried out, covering topics on the use of cover crops, temporary shade and improved varieties to name a few.
With more than 5,000 training hours and an overall attendance of 24,200 farmers, adoption rates on climate-smart practices such as temporary shade and improved root systems increased in Central America from 50% -78% and from 26%-32% respectively.
In Uganda, adoption rates on integrated pests and disease management increased from 48% -90%, erosion control from 3% -57% and rainwater harvesting from 3% -41%. As a result of the increased adoption of CSA practices, plant nutrition reportedly increased from 40% to 59%.
In addition to the on-field work carried out, leading to efficient farm management, in Central America, farmers’ production costs have significantly decreased from 108 USD/60 kg gbe to 86 USD/60 kg gbe by 2020.
Consequently, farmer’s profitability has increased over 4 years from a net income of 31.0 USD/60 kg gbe to 52.8 USD/60 kg gbe. In Uganda, 71% of the 1,548 farmers trained on CSA practices reported that their yields have increased in the past three years.
In Uganda, ARC also piloted a gender component within the project to improve cooperation within households and subsequently, lead to an increase in adoption of climate-smart practices and technologies.
12 gender trainings took place to sensitize farmers, extension agents and community leaders about the relationship between gender and climate change and 439 farmers were educated about the power of jointly budgeting their coffee income to invest in CSA practices.
74 couples (148 farmers) have already began implementing their household plans and this is projected to increase their adoption of climate-smart technologies.