GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, June 27, 2022 – We’re excited to share what our teams are accomplishing as we work towards innovative solutions to some of today’s biggest issues. Together with our supply chain partners and sister companies, we’re endeavoring to create a more equitable and sustainable supply chain. Here’s our Q2 2022 sustainability round-up.
Certifications Increase Opportunities and Income
Sucafina is focused on bolstering farmer livelihoods and one way that can be done is through certifications. In East Africa, Sucafina recently surpassed 100,000 certified farmers in their supply chain. In Rwanda specifically, 4 RWACOF (Sucafina Rwanda) coffee washing stations and the farmers that deliver to them have achieved Organic certification. Gaining Organic certification means that farmers can access a new market, receive a premium for their certification and increase their livelihoods.
At Sucafina Brazil, partner farms have recently passed their 4C audits. “Our objective with the 4C certification is to bring knowledge and good agricultural practices to our suppliers, creating sustainable and transparent businesses for all actors in the chain,” says Ana Carolina Bernardes, Sustainability Manager at Sucafina Brasil. With 4C certification, our supply chain partners can improve their agricultural practices, create more sustainable business practices and reach new markets that help them increase their livelihoods.
Sucafina Brasil has also recently finished a complete carbon mapping of Sucafina’s supply chain of both Arabica and Robusta in Brazil. With a better understanding of carbon and other environmental impacts on the supply chain, Sucafina Brasil and Sucafina as a whole can begin planning to reduce their carbon emissions. Previously, carbon mapping for Sucafina’s Australia, Antwerp and Rwanda supply chains have been completed.
Another way to support farmer livelihoods and the coffee industry as a whole is to focus on quality improvements. Higher quality coffees garner higher premiums for contributing farmers and add more value for actors across the supply chain.
At Sucafina Kenya, they’re improving quality and yields by training 25 agronomists who will then train over 65,700 farmers in nursery management, coffee management, good factory and processing management, climate-smart agriculture and food security through intercropping and diversification.
Sucafina Kenya also works with farmers by distributing free and low-cost inputs. This program includes both conventional and biofertilizers, a foliar spray, fungicides and pesticides to tackle common blights. Supporting farmers with low-cost or free inputs is extremely beneficial and helps them remain profitable, especially as input costs rise.
At UGACOF (Sucafina Uganda), they’re specifically pioneering new ways to supply low-cost, high-impact fertilizers. One source of organic fertilizer they’re exploring is black soldier fly (BSF) larvae. The larvae consume coffee pulp and food waste and convert it into nutrient-rich compost. Sjaak de Bloois, Head of Farm Management & Agronomy, reports that they’ve “discovered that BSF fertilizer is as effective and affordable as the synthetics; and on top of that it improves yields and restores soil.” In addition to improving yields, increasing quality and reducing input costs for farmers, organic fertilizer also cuts down on carbon emissions since synthetic fertilizers are among the leading causes of carbon emissions and environmental pollutants from agriculture.
Sucafina Indonesia is approaching coffee quality through another lens. In order to ensure that farmers have access to and knowledge about the best varieties for their region, Sucafina Indonesia is collaborating with the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) and World Coffee Research (WCR) to establish a demo plot. Farmers can visit and compare the difference in yield and vigor between at least 2 varieties that ICCRI has developed. The plot will also demonstrate different propagation techniques, tree spacing, pruning, fertilizer application and weeding techniques. The team is also hopeful that the local forestry department – which distributes several varieties of seedlings for free – may even be able to use the results in the demo plot and the reaction to it to determine the best varieties to distribute through their program. The plot was established at the beginning of 2022 and is now in full motion. Sucafina hopes to have some new data by the end of the year.
A project from Sucafina Kenya is also focused on quality by making sure that farmers have access to quality varieties. Sucafina Kenya has been constructing three mega nurseries in Sitoo, Wahundura and Nakoyonjo cooperatives. The nurseries were recently completed and are expected to support a total of 5,264 farmers.
Developing partnerships between local, state and NGO actors is an effective way to support local farmers and improve the coffee supply chain as a whole. Sucafina sister companies across the globe are involved in several new projects that are focused on improving coffee quality, increasing farmer livelihoods and protecting the environment.
In Burundi, a new partnership with The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Kahawatu Foundation, Bugestal (Sucafina Burundi) and Greenco (3rd party exporter) is focused on strengthening the Burundian coffee sector and improving livelihoods for small coffee producers in Ngozi. Most of the coffee rootstock in Burundi is very old and, as a result, has decreased yields. This partner project will help farmers located near Sucafina Burundi washing stations to renovate 10% of their coffee trees with new seedlings. The program will support farmers financially for the loss of production during the 2 first years during which new coffee trees don't produce. After the 3-4 years it takes for trees to bear cherry, many farmers in the program will hopefully see increased yields and higher incomes as a result, motivating them to replace the remaining 90% of their old coffee trees.
In Colombia, Sucafina Colombia and their partner, Fundación Local Partners, recently secured funding from the "Colombia Más Competitiva" grant, a Swiss funding program. The grant sought to promote green and inclusive growth and to develop sustainable value chains. With the funding, Sucafina Colombia and Fundación Local Partners will work with 300 coffee-producing families to improve coffee quality, increase productivity and strengthen the community. The extensive plan includes building solar coffee dryers, enhancing water treatment processes, planting trees in conservation areas, motivating youth to be involved in coffee, expanding women’s roles and increasing productivity. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish with their farming partners!
Sucafina Rwanda is pioneering another form of community partnership. Through Sucafina’s Farmer Hub, Sucafina Rwanda is partnering with over 100 local schools in the surrounding communities to help them access the materials and supplies that they need. As a result, over 97,000 children are able to receive better-prepared education and Sucafina Rwanda and the coffee industry are supporting education for the next generation of coffee professionals in Rwanda.
This is just a small peek at the many socially- and environmentally-focused projects in which Sucafina is engaged. Stay tuned more updates!