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Handling unstable coffee prices Interactive R&R Guidebook True Price of Climate Smart Coffee Price Risk Management with Coops

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Getting to know the faces behind sustainability Alejandro Escobar Kim Elena Ionescu Kimberly Easson

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95+ point projects Revitalizing Mexico’s coffee sector TOKS and RA Investing in Sustainability ECOM: Sustainable Cocoa in Ecuador Assessing the Landscape of Jinotega Colombia: Ag-Tech meets Coffee Climate Smart Coffee in Guatemala. Factsheet NAMA Costa Rica Blue Harvest. Harvesting more than coffee

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Gender & Youth Investing in youth in coffee communities The Way Forward PGE Project Methodology Gender Mainstreaming Gender in Coffee Documentary wins Sprudgie

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Cream & Sugar From Data to Knowledge GCP working with SAFE in Latin America Coffee Barometer 2018 From MIF to IDB Lab

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Editor: Anthony Marten Art Director & Graphic Designer: Fer Segura Acuña Contributors: Andrea Zinn, Mandy Tristán All texts written by Anthony Marten unless otherwise specified. The Harvesting Transformation Magazine is published as part of the SAFE Platform, managed by Hivos, and powered by the IDB Lab. For questions or comments, reach out to:

Letter from the editor What does it mean to be safe? Although SAFE stands for Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment, being safe entails feeling secured from danger, harm or loss. For people that depend on coffee and cocoa farming for their livelihoods, that is not always the case. With climate change, disease, unstable coffee prices, and other factors risking coffee and cocoa producers and communities, more action must be taken to ensure future yields and the safety of farmers and their families. The year 2018 has challenged all of us to think outside our boxes. Our common aim to transform coffee and cocoa landscapes in Latin America has invited us to push for more collaboration, which has manifested in many ways; from new projects to a Letter of Intent with the Global Coffee Platform. In both sectors, pricing was an issue brought up in nearly every conversation. Although a few actions have taken place, such as the Coffee Price Crisis Response Initiative led by the SCA, a sector-wide response still hasn’t been able to increase coffee prices to a level that would provide producers with enough income to live a prosperous life. Additionally, few spaces were also discussing the systemic changes that these sectors are requiring. We have come across innovative ideas incorporating aspects such as ag-tech, and are looking forward to seeing how they can tackle these long-lasting issues. But, in order to gaze upon the future of sustainable cocoa and coffee, we must reflect on what we’re currently doing. From individual farm management plans to interactive guidebooks and step-by-step gender inclusion methodologies; this magazine is a trip around stories of change, narratives from what our partners are achieving, but also their challenges with the implementation of projects throughout coffee and cocoa communities in Latin America. I’m happy to be part of a SAFE family that is committed to working together to tackle obstacles cocoa and coffee farmers are facing. I feel pride when looking at what the Platform has accomplished, and feel hopeful for what’s to come. Grab a cup of coffee or chocolate (if it’s from one of our Partners, that’s a plus), and follow along with our recap of SAFE projects.

Anthony Marten Editor & SAFE Platform Communications Officer

About SAFE The Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Environment (SAFE) Platform is a multi-stakeholder alliance initiated by the IDB Lab, coordinated by Hivos, and co-founded by private sector participants, donors and non-governmental organizations that share a common vision: improve the livelihood of farmers through the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices, transforming coffee and cocoa landscapes. The Platform leverages existing knowledge, expertise, and resources from all its members in order to implement a series of projects that pilot or scale up innovative value chain approaches. So far, the Platform has reached over 140,000 people in nine countries in Latin America. We have three project formats: • Individual Projects. Large-scale projects with approximately $1 million in funding by the IDB Lab. • Small Interventions. Projects with up to $70,000 in funding, overseen by Hivos. • Learning Initiatives. Short duration, low budget pilots, administered by Hivos.

Current projects: Individual Projects: • Blue Harvest • Farmer Link • Price Risk Management • Climate-smart cocoa • Transforming Mexican Coffee

Small Interventions • Coffee Landscape Assessment • Climate Smart Coffee and Responsible Sourcing • Accelerating Gender Equity • Breaking Barriers • Expanding NAMA Café Costa Rica • Tierra Colombia

Learning Initiatives • The Way Forward: Engaging the Next Coffee Generation • Improved data systems with Aldea Global • The True Price and the True ROI of investments in Climate Smart coffee • Gender Mainstreaming within Coffee Producer Organizations • Coffee and youth initiative mapping • R&R Interactive Guidebook



17 SAFE Projects














39% 22%








$1 200 000





5 Data as of December 2018

How to navigate coffee rehabilitation and renovation R&R Interactive Guidebook Coffee farmers rely on productive and resilient trees to remain in the market and sustain their livelihoods. Yet, disease, age, and climate change threaten the ability of current trees to keep up with growing demand. In order to meet future demand and improve farmer livelihoods without expanding the spatial footprint of coffee into forested areas, immediate action is needed to support the renovation and rehabilitation of existing coffee farms to sustain and enhance productivity. Members of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge’s Collective Action Network have set a joint commitment to sustainably renovate/rehabilitate 1 billion trees, as well as develop support tools to guide the industry to more investment in R&R. To jump-start these efforts, USAID funded the development of a Guidebook, which was publicly


released in October 2017. The Guidebook provides useful insights that can help companies that have R&R efforts underway, refine, enhance, and scale their programs, while it can also provide tangible guidance to industry members who are interested in supporting R&R but don’t know how. To increase usability and visibility of this resource, Conservation International is leading the transformation of the guidebook into an interactive online tool that will enable the industry and government to support NGOs to quickly evaluate the best options for their supply chains and beneficiary groups. This project, supported by SAFE, will allow actors across the chain to understand and implement R&R strategies. The tool is expected to be ready later this year.



Alejandro Escobar Alejandro Escobar is known for loving coffee, but his talents also include being a great karaoke singer. As a Lead Operations Officer overseeing climate-smart agriculture projects for the IDB Lab, he is familiar with the realities cocoa and coffee farmers face in Latin America. Why did the IDB LAB decide to invest on a platform like SAFE? AE: By investing in a platform like SAFE we know and understand that we are investing along with other organizations to accomplish the same goals. Why is it important for companies to invest in sustainability efforts? AE: The importance of investing in sustainability projects cannot be understated. We’re seeing the impact that climate change is having on agriculture, but also on the lives of the farmers who are living day-by-day with climate issues. There’s been recent talk about climate-migration, which is having a deep impact on farmers. Working with projects that are actually offering alternatives or solutions to make farming more sustainable is critical for the Bank and for other stakeholders that are part of the SAFE Platform.

How can we scale something like SAFE? AE: I think there are many elements that SAFE has that can be used by others and ourselves to scale. There’s data that we have been able to gather over the years that can be useful for building other similar platforms in other sectors. It’s all about our partnerships and how we can take this message of what we’re doing in SAFE to others; be it governments, larger companies, or even regional governments within Latin America. We’re in that process now, as we speak, and looking for partners with whom we can scale. I would like to take SAFE to the next level.

What are SAFE Platform’s main achievements and challenges? AE: Working with corporations like Starbucks, we’ve co-invested in long-term lending for resiliency and renovation of coffee. We’ve also had the opportunity to work with other partners in spreading good practices in gender inclusion across the value chain. Some of the challenges have to do with making sure that there is collaboration and that we’re talking the same language around data gathering among partners. Other challenges have to do also with external aspects such as climate and political situations we’re facing in the countries where we work.



The True Price of Climate Smart coffee Quantifying the potential impact of Climate-Smart Agriculture for Colombian coffee Coffee production is associated with environmental externalities (such as climate change, water pollution, and the use of scarce water and toxic materials) and social externalities (underpayment and underearning). As part of the True Price and True ROI Learning Initiatives of the SAFE Platform, Solidaridad and True Price worked together to achieve a better understanding of the relationship between the costs and benefits of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). The study focuses on Colombian smallholder farmers and is based on primary data collected from a group of 60 smallholder farmers in the state of Cauca. These farmers applied a package of 16 CSA techniques. The research concludes that CSA scores well in a cost-benefit assessment if it is sustainable (effective in reducing social and environmental externalities), contributes to a decent livelihood to the farmer, is feasible to the market, profitable to the farmer, and cost-effective to society. The study asses the 5 criteria of True Price for an integrated approach to externalities. The true price (of a product) and the true ROI (of an investment) are 2 central assessments, given they permit the comparison between production systems and to identify sustainability issues from a cost-benefit perspective.


True pricing is a way of quantifying and monetizing sustainability.The true price is the market price of a product plus the social and environmental external costs.

The purpose of true pricing is not to make coffee more expensive by raising the retail price, but instead to make the coffee cheaper to society by decreasing the true price to the same level as the retail price as much as possible. A few of the study’s results: 1. The external costs of CSA coffee are lower than that of conventional coffee: CSA has a lower true price and helps smallholder farmers to get closer to earning a living income. CSA is more sustainable than the conventional production model, it helps smallholders to earn a more decent livelihood and it is feasible for producers to implement. 2. Investments in CSA have a positive ROI and true ROI: CSA is more profitable and more cost-effective, but that some support to the farmers is necessary.


Price Risk Management Co-author: Andrea Zinn. Agricultural Project Officer - Oikocredit 22 coffee cooperatives from six countries in Latin America are currently participating in a series of Price Risk Management (PRM) training sessions. Co-op board and management representatives started at the beginner level training, have overcome the intermediate skills, and are now embarking on the advanced level. These sessions equip participants with best-practice skills and PRM tools, benefiting approximately 29,000 smallholder cooperative members.

Back to basics Colored-coded paper circles, rectangles, and other shapes containing definitions and keywords were used to guide each session’s contents and learnings. By the end of each day, these graphs and figures draped the venue’s walls, making it appear more like a classroom than a high-level training session. The facilitators explained that providing visual stimuli for the participants allows them to understand how the concepts relate to each other while focusing their attention on every single element that is discussed. This unique training, conducted over the past two years, combines hard and soft training skills to focus on building common knowledge and

understanding of the management of the coffee trading business at origin – then, systematizes the business using monitoring tools that that enables producer organizations to identify and quantify risk level exposure and track their risk mitigation performance. Once a cooperative has built knowledge of and manages its physical strategies using internal tools and policies, it can complement its physical strategy with a financial strategy in the derivatives market (futures/options) and manage the two together – like yin and yang. For Hugo Villela, Oikocredit’s Regional Agribusiness Specialist in Latin America and the PRM Project Manager, finding facilitators for the session was one of several challenges faced. “Most people with the knowledge on financial strategy and derivatives markets don’t have the ability to train cooperative and management board members; those that do don’t have the competencies on something so specific like PRM.” For this reason, the team had to create the contents inspired by Popular Education and CEFE methodologies.

Simulating reality This Oikocredit led project, backed by Catholic Relief Services, FairTrade USA, and Keurig Dr Pepper aims to achieve a change of attitude about how to better understand and tackle risk.



During an intermediate training session in Jaen, Peru last year, participants were divided into groups and were instructed to replicate specific objects with modeling clay. Each object had a differentiated “market value” and the goal was for each team to manage their resources to maximize their profits. Sounds easy, right? Sort of. Most groups focused on fabricating the highest value objects, consuming most of their resources. The “market” opened stating that only a limited amount of those objects would be received and that their price was no longer what was stated at the beginning, forcing each team to reevaluate their decisions. This game does not stray far from reality where there are constant fluctuations in the market and rapid changes in demands. Understanding these scenarios allows cooperatives to invest strategically and minimize their exposure to losses. The challenge is going from modeling clay to kilograms of coffee.

cooperatives will be able to project how different future/options situations will play-out given the market’s conditions at the moment.

Next steps The Oikocredit team is following-up with each cooperative on a monthly basis to track how they are using the tools provided during the training sessions. Comparing data allows the organization to see how to improve future implementations and how to take PRM strategies to the next level. Infographics will be made and shared after the advanced sessions take place this year.

Learn more about the PRM project during the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston. Join the panel titled “The Yin and Yang of Managing Coffee Price Volatility Risk” at 10:15 am on Saturday, April 13th to hear first about the experience directly from the project implementers.

For this reason, the creation of a virtual simulator for training is underway, where participating



Revitalizing Mexico’s coffee sector IDB Operations Specialist in Mexico, Tatiana Virviescas Mendoza, announced the launch of a $2 million SAFE project that is expected to reach nearly 10000 people in Southern Mexico during the 15th edition of Let’s Talk Coffee. The 2012 roya, or leaf rust, outbreak gravely impacted this region, leaving farmers with difficulties recovering from this hardship. “Mexico was decimated by roya. A lot of people have started to write Mexico off, but our team is convinced that Mexico can still produce exceptional coffee… Many of those producers are still there and they want to fight for a better future for their families,” Sustainable Harvest’s President Liam Brody said in an interview to Daily Coffee News. For this reason, they invested in the Transforming Mexican Coffee Project.


The Mexican Secretariat for Agriculture and Rural Development is another key partner in the project, exemplifying how governments can work with private initiatives to boost investments in rural communities. World Coffee Research and COSA are the other Partners joining forces in the project. Specifically, the project will help farmers by focusing on four key elements: • Establishing World Coffee Research-Verified Seed Nurseries. This project will pilot WCR Verified nurseries to develop a distribution channel for smallholders to have high-quality, climate-smart planting material that is diseasefree, genetically stable, and conforms to the variety standard.


• Calculating the ROI of On-Farm ClimateSmart Investments. This project will create a tool and provide training to help smallholders make cost-effective decisions that will help them increase profitability in the face of climate change.

• Connecting Disaggregated Smallholders to Specialty Markets. Using cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, Sustainable Harvest will integrate individual smallholders in Oaxaca into traceable, transparent supply chains with premium pricing.

• Improving Data-Driven Decision Making. Working with smallholder cooperatives in Chiapas and Oaxaca, the project will develop and refine information-management systems aimed at improving social, environmental, and core business performance (quality, on-time delivery, etc.).

Although it may take a few years before we’re able to drink a cup of coffee produced from the nurseries in this region, we can be sure that once we do, the farmers behind the coffee beans will be living better and more sustainable lives than they do now.

Impacting through comics With comic-hero inspired movies consistently hitting screens across the world, Sustainable Harvest decided to join in on the fun and launch its 2017 impact report in the form of a comic. C the Destroyer, ManSplain, El Faceless, and a team of natural forces are the villains the comic portrays in four short stories: the fight for better livelihoods, the fight for gender equity, the fight for transparency, and the fight for climate resilience. The comic calls for us to become superheroes to fight these villains. Will you suit up?



Restaurants and certifiers investing in sustainability With 208 restaurants around Mexico, TOKS has established itself as a culinary staple in the country. On October 4th, 2018, TOKS announced its commitment to sell Rainforest Alliance certified coffee in all its restaurants by 2020. To catapult this achievement, TOKS has decided to invest, along with Rainforest Alliance, in the Breaking Barriers project in southern Mexico. As part of this initiative, 1000 farmers are being trained in improved climate-smart agriculture practices, with a focus on the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. This is the first SAFE project to incorporate both coffee and cocoa producers in its scope.


Beyond certifications The director of the Tacanå Volcano Biosphere Reserve, Francisco Javier Jimenez, attended one of the project’s workshops in Chiapas, and highlighted the relevance of the implementation of sustainable practices in buffer zones, expressing interest in collaborating in the initiative. With the collaboration of cooperatives in the region, farmers are able to plant seedlings from local nurseries on their farms. The project has also set a goal of restoring up to 50 hectares of land, using data from the Ministry of Natural Protected Areas to target priority reforestation areas. Even though the project started operations in late 2018, it is already impacting farmers in the region. Together with the Transforming Mexican Coffee project, it is working to make Mexican coffee (and cocoa) great again.


ECOM making cocoa more sustainable in South America Drip irrigation systems and region-specific fertilizer blends are only a few elements in ECOM’s precision packages designed for smallholder cocoa producers in Ecuador. This three-year project, initiated in August 2018, is working to enhance the competitiveness of small-scale cocoa producers through access to precision agriculture technologies and innovative credit products. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (2018), Ecuador is the second largest cocoa-producing country in the Americas (and seventh in the world), surpassed only by Brazil. Just like coffee, cocoa has been ridden by disease in the past decade. Sustainable practices can help overcome these obstacles, improve productivity, and thus, farmer livelihoods. So far, over 450 technical visits have taken place, with almost 100 in-depth farm development plans


created alongside farmers. Around 200 farmers have attended trainings on the implementation of new technologies, which include geographic information systems (GIS), drone surveillance, and satellite imaging that seek to efficiently monitor farms and track changes in crop health over time. The project will directly benefit 4000 family farms, of which, 20 percent are managed by women; and over $500,000 is available in the form of credits through Oikocredit to smallholder producers for the installation and adoption of new technological resources. COSA is also responsible for capturing data generated by the project. At the moment, the project is focalized in Ecuador, but will expand to other countries in the region where ECOM has cocoa operations in the coming years.



Kim Elena Ionescu Kim Elena Ionescu is the Chief Sustainability Officer for the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)– and also an excellent *NSYNC-era Justin Timberlake impersonator. She represents the SCA in the Coalition for Coffee Communities (CCC).

What does the Specialty Coffee Association do?

what the people who have driven the concept of this group forward have cared about.

KI: We are a membership association for the coffee industry and our main areas of activity include events, education, and research.

I think that presently there’s a pretty strong business case to be made for the importance of sustainability because coffee is facing a number of very significant threats to its future. All of these threats are making specialty coffee’s future feel kind of precarious, and it really emphasizes that some kind of individual action is needed, but also more collective action is needed; that’s where the association comes in.

Why does the Specialty Coffee Association invest in sustainability? KI: Thinking back to the beginning of the association, it’s always been volunteer-driven. Really early on, like we’re talking back in the 80s or early 90s, a group of those volunteers came together and said, “you know, we need a group that is dedicated to sustainability”, though, at the time, they called it the environment committee. Sustainability has always been part of what the people who have driven the concept of this group forward have cared about. It’s always been part of


Can you tell me a little bit about the CCC? KI: Sure! So, that’s a great segway from what I was talking about, collective action, because about 5 years ago a group of the Specialty Coffee Association’s members came together,


inspired by the action of one particular roasting company, Keurig Green Mountain– At the time, actually, I guess they were Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and now they carry Dr Pepper. So, that is just an example of industry evolution right there. But a group of coffee roasting companies and an importer all came together inspired by the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ “After the Harvest” video, and all said, “you know? We want to do something together because food insecurity is an issue that affects coffee producers worldwide. Therefore, it’s all of our responsibility. It’s not just for one company or one supply chain. This is pervasive”. It’s really evolved from there to be a much broader example of collaboration to where, now, for the past year or two, we’ve been looking at this region of Jinotega, Nicaragua, and the landscape within that region (more info on pg. 14). What’s next for SCA? KI: We’ve seen a major shift in the dialogue around sustainability to focus more on the economic side of sustainability. So, where 5 years ago it might have been a balance of environmental, or economic, or social, now the producer voice especially is represented by institutions in coffee producing countries by collaborative initiatives of those institutions, like the World Coffee Producer Forum.

So, I think that that’s where we’re going to see a lot of the focus, including the focus of the Specialty Coffee Association, which launched the pricecrisis response initiative in December of 2018 as a response to this need that we see in this shift in focus. And then, for the Coalition, I think the group is going to continue to try to use the SAFE Platform to shift from roaster-led decision making to shared decision making, where the producers and local representatives are the ones who ultimately control the information. What do you think are the benefits of working in a platform like SAFE? KI: What I really like about working with the SAFE platform is that it has convened a group in its partners that is big enough to represent diverse perspectives. It’s not homogenous, it’s not all a group of roasters, or all a group of NGOs, so it’s big enough to be diverse, but it’s small enough that it’s possible to make a decision, arrive at some conclusion, or to start collaborations, maybe with some unlikely collaborators, because people feel comfortable expressing themselves, and asking questions, and being challenged, and taking a step outside of what their typical role would be. And I think that those groups are few and far between. So, SAFE has gotten a good group of people, companies, organizations around the table and I’m excited to see what next ideas can arise.

16 Photo: Olga Cuellar

Photo: Olga Cuellar

Photo: Olga Cuellar

Assessing the Landscape of Jinotega, Nicaragua A challenge faced by most initiatives working with commodities is understanding the social, economic, and environmental dynamics of the communities their investments influence. Looking beyond the value chain may foster further impact and make the projects scalable and more sustainable. The Coalition for Coffee Communities (CCC) members—Counter Culture Coffee, Farmer Brothers, Keurig Dr Pepper, the Specialty Coffee Association, Starbucks, and S&D Coffee & Tea— teamed up with the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) to assess the landscape of Jinotega, Nicaragua. Data, from Rainforest Alliance, Conservation International, and other sources, was gathered and systematized into an interactive online dashboard that enables partners to view information on a municipal or farm level. Data collected ranges from household characteristics and farmer rights to environmental characteristics (deforestation, water sources, forest fire management programs, and others). Understanding these landscapes enables both


external and local actors to channel efforts in the most strategic ways. For Kim Elena Ionescu, of the Specialty Coffee Association, “in order for something on a landscape level in Jinotega to be durable and sustainable, it has to have local relevance. To have on-theground partners and on-the-ground presence is great, but ultimately, the stakeholders in Jinotega are the ones who need to feel like this work— this landscape assessment—and the tools that arrive from this are reflective of their reality, and something that they can use for decision making; and ultimately drive decision making with.”

Next steps The CCC is seeking to scale and replicate the methodology in another country, including a plan to go past the assessment and use the recollected data to further impact farmers in the chosen region. Jinotega will not be left behind, as local stakeholders are finding ways to transform the information gathered into strategic investment and action plans.



Coffee meets Ag-Tech After steadily climbing a winding path up the mountains of Antioquia, Colombia, we reached a point where the motorcycle wasn’t able to advance any further. A 30-minute walk to ensued until we reached the house of one of the farmers participating in the Farmer Link project. “Some farms are hard to reach. Many times, these are the ones that most appreciate the services we’re providing” the team of Technical Advisor and Community Link from the Cooperativa de los Andes mentioned on the hike during a three-day visit to our Farmer Link project.


“This railing is new”, Oscar Alejandro Echeverri, one of the over 2,000 producers involved in the project, pointed out while leading us to a typical rooftop coffee drying station. Installing or ensuring safety measures is one of the first changes producers make. At least twice a year, the staff visits each producer to view progress on the accomplishment of the management plans and to establish new goals. Although each producer has a large three-year plan–complete with the full list of tasks, as well as stickers to track the dates when they plant, fertilize, harvest, postered somewhere in their house–, more than that is being done during each visit. The Community Links (young men and women trained by the cooperative to assist in capturing data for the project) are equipped with tablets that feed into the cooperative’s database. The information gathered is used by the Coop to truly understand the needs of producers. Backed by Starbucks, COEX, and the Grameen Foundation, the project is also providing credits to farmers in order to improve infrastructure on their farms. Farmer Link initially targeted 2,000 of the Cooperative’s members, but in 2018, it was announced that these services will be extended


to all of the over 3,000 producers associated with the Coop. “We’ve received benefits through credits and are paid an additional premium depending on the quality of our coffee. We didn’t have visits from Technical Advisors before joining the project”. Oscar Alejandro added. Antioquia isn’t the only place in Colombia where SAFE projects are taking place. The Colombian region of Meta is the home of our most recent project Tierra Colombia. MAKAIA, Lavazza Foundation, ALO&Partners, Microsoft Colombia, and Carcafé are working with 100 coffee-growing families that are currently being certified in sustainable practices. Farmers will also have internet access for the first time, thanks to the investments of these organizations. This region, in particular, the municipalities of Mesetas, Lejanías, and San Juan de Arama, have faced the consequences of the internal conflict in Colombia for many years. This, along with other reasons, has led the production and management of coffee crops in the region to be developed in an empirical and artisanal manner. Nevertheless, due to the conditions of the region in terms of altitude,


climate, soil type, and the biodiversity of the area itself, there is great potential for the production of high-quality coffee. The project will implement an information and databased platform with tools and information sources and practices adapted to the farmer’s needs. ICT adoption workshops for coffee growers, with a special focus on youth and women, will also take place to help asses permanent needs, identify problems, and develop solutions. The project will create “Innovation Labs” in two of the Schools and Farms already connected to the Internet, by Lavazza, as well as in 4 local public libraries. These spaces will foster activities of cocreation, resolution of challenges, among others. In these Labs, new local Ag-Tech ideas will be tested. Midway through Lina and Oscar’s interview, their children returned from school. After showing off their tests results and getting something to drink, they went out to play in the yard. “This is who we do this for. Participating in these types of projects allows us to improve our coffee and livelihoods, which helps create a better future for our children”, Oscar Alejandro added.


From data capturing to knowledge sharing How many women are participating in workshops? How many hectares of land are being renovated? How many of the farmers have access to water at home? How many producers have being trained and have received technical assistance through SAFE projects? These, and a plethora of other questions that our projects gather help understand the realities farmers we work with are facing. These indicators and metrics, developed by Hivos and the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), allow SAFE members to better decide, along with producers, how to best invest to transform these communities, and for the partners implementing projects to reflect their achievements and strategies at field level. COSA has developed an online Partner Zone where partner organizations are able to access


accumulated project data. Next steps are to extract and share insights. For SAFE’s Project Officer, Ariana Araujo, “numbers and data alone do not say anything. The magic behind the registration and sharing of data is to transform information into knowledge. The standardization of instruments for data collection and reporting allows a incredibly rich base to get a better understanding of the reality behind the projects, transforming information into key insights for the coffee and cocoa sectors” COSA’s long history of successfully designing company programs and strategies has yielded useful lessons of what to do and what not to do in these eight key steps to sustainable sourcing, outlined by Saurin Nanavati. You can find the full steps in SAFE’s blog post covering this subject.


Climate Smart Coffee in Guatemala Factsheet “They said we were crazy, that humans shouldn’t be cutting and pasting plants,” was a phrase a local coffee farmer told me while riding in the back of a pick-up in Santa Rosa, Guatemala, where Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung leads the Climate-Smart Coffee project. Beyond coffee grafting, this farmer has attended training session seeking to learn practices to improve his production. He is not alone. This project is working with farmers across the region. In 2018, the project managed to: • Make 7,800 educational contacts, reaching over 1,200 producers. Training topics included climate change awareness, climate change mitigation and adaptation practices, and coffee nursery management. • Establish 55 demonstration plots. • Increase average farm doubling those of 2017).




• Develop 9 fact sheets on climate adaptation practices. • Establish coffee nurseries (currently growing 8,000 coffee plants). • Renovate 36.5 ha of coffee farms. • Build a solar coffee dryer, benefiting 44 producers. • Sell 1,669 qq (75,882 kg) of dry parchment coffee, surpassing the project goal. 44% of the beneficiaries are women, and 34% are youth under the age of 29. The future of coffee depends on the integration of these groups in coffee value chains. In 2019, a Training of Trainers will take place, focusing on these groups, as well as the continuation of youth trainings with an emphasis on climate change adaptation.


Expanding NAMA Café Costa Rica In order to reduce the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector and expand sustainable coffee production in the future, the government of Costa Rica is implementing a coffee NAMA (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) through a participatory process between 2011 and 2021. At the level of coffee farmers and the field technicians of mills, the NSP Café is implementing capacity building measures for efficient fertilizer use and additional low-emission practices, like the provision of shade trees. These measures will increase coffee production per hectare and, at the same time, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In order to reinforce a multipliable model in the coffee sector, a total of 21 demonstrative farms of 1 ha in all of the coffee regions of the country will be chosen. Good Agricultural Practices (GPAs) will be applied on these models, thus increasing


productivity and lowering GHG emissions. These farms will serve as training centers for the growers who own them and for at least 10 other growers of their respective community. Each team (composed by one extension service technician and one producer) will present a proposal for the improved management of each farm that includes targets to increase in productivity and reduce GHG emissions. IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS ICAFÉ and GIZ. DIRECT AND INDIRECT BENEFICIARIES 246 (225 growers and 21 technicians). LOCATION All coffee producing regions of Costa Rica.


GCP and SAFE Working toward sustainability together

The Global Coffee Platform (GCP) and the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (Hivos), in its role as the SAFE Platform manager, have agreed to work together to address some of the main sustainability issues in Latin American coffee producing countries. The Letter of Intent, which defines the collaboration between both organizations and lasting initially until 2020, identifies the SAFE Platform with its regional co-funding portfolio as an attractive mechanism to support GCP’s work with National Country Platforms and to involve more GCP Members in concrete local actions in Latin America to benefit coffee farming families, increase productivity and profitability, promote best practices and disseminate state-of-the-art knowledge and information regarding coffee sustainability. “One of the Coffee Barometer’s main findings is that the creation of multiple stakeholder initiatives within the coffee sector has been on the rise.” According to Juan Pablo Solís, SAFE’s Manager. He adds: “This positive trend brings actors together across the chain, but the challenge lies in finding ways for these platforms to align goals, overcome fragmentation and increase impact. That’s why


this collaboration with the GCP will aid in the transformation of a more sustainable coffee sector in Latin America by bringing in new stakeholders and methods of engagement and allowing for cross-cutting investment and innovation.” For Annette Pensel, GCP’s Executive Director, the collective work with the SAFE Platform will help scaling up the investments on coffee sustainability in the region: “GCP Members seek to invest on coffee sustainability in the most effective way to benefit farmers and the coffee business in Latin America and the world. Our agreement with Hivos and the SAFE Platform leads to more collaboration and investments, something the coffee sector needs urgently to address the current issues threating our industry”. This agreement will also look for opportunities to collectively raise funds for the National Coffee Platforms in coffee producing countries. Emphasis of this support lies on initiatives around economic viability of the coffee sector, climate change, gender equity, generational takeover, access to finance, and the inclusion of smallholder farmers in sustainable agricultural value chains in the Latin American region.


Over 40,000 hectares of land around priority water sources in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua are being protected and restored through the Catholic Relief Services-led Blue Harvest project. Launched in 2014, with the support of Keurig Dr Pepper, over 3.000 producers are actively involved in this initiative which delivers results and generates impacts in three areas:

From harvesting coffee to harvesting water

1. Water Resource Restoration Watersheds that provide drinking water for communities downstream are better managed, primarily by promoting sustainable agricultural practices, improved water governance, increased investments in improving agricultural practices and improving water systems, and increased policy influence around integrated water resource management.




2. Improved Coffee Agroforestry Systems Coffee farms increase production and diversification, and are more resilient to pests, disease and drought. Water-smart agricultural practices are applied to improve water infiltration.

3. Value Chain Management Farmers in Blue Harvest areas increase income through value chain enrichments.

his farm, he joked that, although he loves enjoying his coffee at home, he wouldn’t mind taking a sip while seated in a European café.

Maren Barbee, from Catholic Relief Services, heavily involved in two CRS water-related projects (Blue Harvest and Azure), sees Blue Harvest as an approach to identify the most effective and impacting interventions to protect water resources. She adds, “the project is working with the Water Benefits Calculator to discover which techniques the project implements are the best in capturing water.” This tool, designed by LimnoTech, quantifies the benefits of applying water-smart agriculture practices on farms in Central America.

Aided by improvements to water mills, and the availability of disease-resistant seedlings, farmers are starting to see coffee as a profitable income source. In 2017, the project reported that nearly 1,000 farmers had renovated their farms using these seedlings, as well as over 600 mills having implemented improved water efficiency practices.

In mid-2017, The SAFE team joined Roger Cantarero, the Mayor of Jesús de Otoro, Honduras on a visit to a macro-solar dryer donated to the municipality by Japan in 2017. Throughout the tour, Roger mentioned that this donation allows for more standardized coffee bean drying, and it has also “motivated more farmers in the region to keep, and even start, producing coffee.” Ronny, one of the farmers we visited during this trip, was in awe when he found out that coffee he produced was being consumed in Europe. Walking through


Protecting water resources depends on the types of land use. The project has created 3D models of the mountain ranges Blue Harvest is working with. Both producers and CRS staff highlighted that having these visual recreations has helped all actors involved understand how water is “harvested” and how to improve practices on an individual and collective level. With nearly 75,000 people benefiting downstream from improvements to water systems, investing in water-related coffee projects represents investing in the health and future of upcoming producers, consumers, and communities as a whole.





Photo: Pablo Ruiz

Investing in Youth in Coffee Growing Communities “We believe in the transformative power of youth. We believe that the future of coffee starts with young farmers, and that coffee can lead to a sustainable livelihood for youth and their families in rural communities.� Joanna Furgiuele, the Fundraising and Program Manager for Coffee Kids, stated during a June 2017 podcast regarding youth participation in coffee production. An increasingly important issue affecting the sustainability of coffee is the link between young adults and children in coffee communities today and the availability of coffee in the future. The interest in this topic comes from both the supply and the demand side. On the supply side, young adults are not attracted to stay in agriculture as there are many barriers to their entry and they also have more attractive options for their future. Conversely, on the demand side, there is a growing demand for coffee, in particular, higher value specialty coffee. To meet the increasing demand for coffee at a time when many youths are migrating out of coffee communities, it is crucial for members of the sector to find approaches that both motivate youth to choose coffee and ensure coffee can provide them a stable future.

This report, funded by Sustainable Food Lab, HRNS, and SAFE, provides an insight into a selection of programs focusing on coffee and youth across four countries in Central and South America: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Colombia. Information was collected from resources and interviews with over 20 organizations representing various segments of the coffee sector: retail brands, roasters, traders, producer groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The intent of this report is to highlight some common concerns, gaps, and opportunities present across the sector, and to provide recommendations for moving forward to address this critical area of sustainability. The encouraging finding of the study is that there are many youth initiatives related to coffee. The private sector is supporting interventions that focus on either making the farm more sustainable and profitable or on developing new skills for work in the coffee sector. Producer groups and NGOs are also supporting these efforts, as well as working directly with young people on broader social and economic issues, and helping develop their entrepreneurial and life skills.

Information adapted from the executive summary of the Investing in Youth in Coffee Growing Communities report.




Kimberly Easson By: Mandy Tristán

It’s always a pleasure working with empowered and sweet women like Kimberly Easson, the Strategic Director of the CQI Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE). After discussing women’s role in coffee, we chatted about the roles we play in audiovisual production. Gender inequity transcends our sectors and is part of our daily lives. Why did you choose to work with gender, coffee, and sustainability? KE: The coffee sector is an example of how collaboration can forward investment and action while serving as an opportunity to improve a global supply chain. What I see, as part of the global coffee sector, is that we have a chance to communicate not only about the quality of this beverage, which of course is key, but also about the quality of life of the people that produced that product, and in particular women, youth, families, and the environment. Many things that we care about as coffee advocates or coffee consumers are things that the SAFE Platform is working towards and that we have a clear way to communicate. How was the PGE conceived? KE: The CQI Partnership for Gender Equity came into existence when we realized that in order to better understand and address the quality of coffee and improve the quality of coffee in the


global supply chain, we also had to look at what is going on on the ground with coffee farming families and their quality of life. And we also realized that many organizations working in the development sphere had already pointed to the importance of women’s empowerment and gender equity as part of an important foundation of a successful development strategy. So why not in coffee? We realized that in coffee there really hadn’t been much work done to understand how gender equity and women’s empowerment impacts the well-being of the supply chain and the well-being of families, and so we decided first and foremost to do some research that would help to position the issue in a business-friendly way and provide more information so that companies could actually, not only understand, but take action, invest and improve their sustainability programs overall. Could you give us a brief update on the situation of women in the coffee sector? KE: The base of many of the challenges faced are


confronted even more strongly by coffee-farming women and smallholder families. One of the things that we know, it’s that women in many cases do a significant portion of the work of coffee farming, in particular, those activities that are focused on coffee quality. And yet, they are not necessarily recognized for this work, often time not receiving any pay. They also don’t usually have access to resources in terms of training, any kind of inputs, or technology or tools that could help them be able to improve the work that they do and get better outcomes for themselves, their farms and their families. What do you think are the benefits of working in a platform like SAFE? KE: The reason why there are many benefits is the bringing together of different stakeholders in the sector to share information, to learn and to support projects that can strengthen the way that we work together as the sector as a whole. So this opportunity to share learning, to share understanding and work together in a collaborative fashion is really key for us to tackle the critical issues that are facing the coffee sector in the region.

What’s next for PGE? KE: The Partnership for Gender Equity was able to develop a project methodology (PM) with the support of the SAFE Platform and the IDB (read more about the PM on the next page). That is a critical tool, not only for PGE, but also broadly for the coffee sector, to implement a project that can address these imbalances with regards to gender equity in coffee farming households, communities, and in the supply chain as a whole. We’re working on bringing partners together to apply the project methodology inside of an existing program or to create a program that focuses on gender equity. We intend to have three to four projects over the next three to four years, across the different coffee producing regions. We’re looking to impact 25,000 coffee farming families and therefore about 100,000 beneficiaries so that we can really track and measure the impact of applying the project methodology in different supply chains, in different geographies, and with different partners. Then we can bring together the data and really be clear what’s working, what might need to be tweaked in one region or another, and then we can advocate broadly across the different partners the scalable solutions that are really going to have a transformative impact on the resilience of the coffee value chain.

The Way Forward How are the issues of gender related to youth and an aging farming population? The answer to this question is not yet clear. To address this knowledge gap, PGE is undertaking a new round of research entitled, The Way Forward: Engaging the Next Coffee Generation. The objective of PGE’s research is to provide a foundation to better understand youth engagement in coffee production and its impact on coffee industry outcomes; to communicate findings; to develop recommendations for action, and to spur interventions and changes to policies and practices across the industry. This research will be published later this year.



PGE Project Methodology The development of the PGE Project Methodology: A Field Guide for Integrating Gender Equity in the Coffee Value Chain was supported by the SAFE Accelerating Gender Equity Project. The PGE Project Methodology (PM) provides a framework and serves as a step-by-step guide to plan, manage, and evaluate a PGE field level project to promote gender equity within a coffee supply chain. The PGE PM guides engagement with three levels of the supply chain including farmer households, producer organizations, and end market partners. Working within these three levels of the supply chain, the PM offers specific tools and provides action steps that project implementers can


5 . Manage

2 .Learn



follow in order to ensure all relevant stakeholders can successfully carry out a PGE field level project and meet expected outcomes.

How to use the PM Project implementation will be described in three parts, beginning with activities to conduct at the PO level, followed by activities at the household (HH) level, and ending with activities at the EM level. In each of these parts, the process that project implementers can follow will be explained through eight consecutive steps. Each of these steps and their associated tools and frameworks are timebound.

3. Plan

7. Follow up




Gender Mainstreaming 6. 6. 1. Six organizations (HRNS, PGE, Hivos, Root Capital, CLAC, and Trias) analyzed six concrete projects that implemented a gender perspective, finalizing in a one-day workshop in El Salvador. Each project was reviewed in terms of sustainability, impact, innovation, and equality. Examples include the Toolbox for gender inclusion designed by CLAC and Trias, which contains a 20 step map on how to mainstream gender perspectives in organizations, and PGE’s checklist for gender inclusion. Find the full report on the Gender Mainstreaming page of the SAFE Website, and a video recap on SAFE’s YouTube channel.

Gender in Coffee Documentary wins Sprudgie Award The 10th Annual Sprudgie Awards announced their 2018 winners on January 9th this year. The best coffee video/film was awarded to Xavier Hamon and Hannah Stapleton’s Gender in Coffee Documentary.

This film opens the conversation about gender roles, women’s empowerment, masculinity, women’s coffee and the importance of working towards gender equality for the sustainability of the coffee industry, and follows coffee’s trail from production to consumption. The film was co-produced by SAFE and Atlas Coffee Importers, with Hanns. R. Neumann Stiftung, Rainforest Alliance, and Lutheran World Relief as executive producers.


Kimberly Easson is seen in the film saying “The issue of gender equity involves all of us. It isn’t just about coffee farming communities. [...] The global coffee sector is comprised of a beautiful diversity of people from all origins, dozens and dozens of languages, and different expressions of gender. The coffee sector needs to be welcoming and inclusive to everyone.” This reflection is fundamental in a world currently faced by exclusion, segregation, and hate. Changing coffee can help us change the world.


Coffee Barometer

Stirring-up the sustainable coffee sector:

The Coffee Barometer 2018 The 2018 edition of the Coffee Barometer caused a buzz in the sector this past year. “In this industry, whose annual value is currently $200 billion, the total investment in sustainability efforts is an estimated annual budget of $350 million,” the report says. With figures breaking down the market share and demand of certified and verified coffee, the world’s leading coffee producing countries, and main mergers and acquisitions, it’s safe to say the report tackled relevant issues for those working with coffee.

This hampers a more fundamental shift in the industry’s business model and is a real threat for value creation in the long run.”

This edition of the Coffee Barometer explores the wide variety of environmental, social and economic issues threatening the future of coffee production, and pinpoints the gaping holes in our collective knowledge that urgently need to be tackled.

The Coffee Barometer 2018 is a collaboration of Hivos, Solidaridad, Conservation International, COSA, Oxfam Worldshops and SAFE Platform, and calls for more transparency and collaboration in the sector. The SAFE Platform, along with other multi-stakeholder alliances, works to engage actors to tackle these issues and make coffee more sustainable.

In June 2018, Sjoerd Panhuysen, lead-author of the Coffee Barometer and Project Manager at Hivos stated “The fact that companies are preoccupied with scaling their business seems to undermine the level of ambition, investment and impact of their sustainability commitments. What’s more, companies shy away from incorporating social and environmental costs of coffee production.


Since then, we’ve seen the Barometer referenced in several industry events, as well as being presented during World of Coffee in Amsterdam, Let’s Talk Coffee in Colombia, Sintercafé in Costa Rica, and others. Hopefully, the key messages resonate with more stakeholder and spark further investment in coffee sustainability.

You can find the full Barometer in English and Spanish, as well as an executive summary in Portuguese, on the Knowledge section of the SAFE website.


From MIF to IDB Lab: New brand, new mission Mid-2018, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) became IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. The IDB Lab is a purpose-driven platform open to the world that mobilizes capital, knowledge and connections to promote innovation for inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Climate Smart Agriculture remains as a focus area, allowing the continuation of the SAFE Platform.






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