By Hillary Munedzi
Nestlé has invested over one billion Swiss francs in the Nescafé Plan 2030 which seeks to help coffee farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve farmers’ livelihoods in seven countries.
The food giant will be working with coffee farmers to test, learn and assess the effectiveness of multiple regenerative agriculture practices in Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, and Honduras where the brand sources 90 percent of its coffee.
Every year, Nescafé supports around 100,000 coffee farmers and buys more than 800,000 metric tons of green coffee – more than 13 million bags, from more than 20 countries. Today, one out of seven cups of coffee drunk around the world is a Nescafé.
Nescafé will be working with coffee farmers to help them transition to regenerative agriculture while accelerating its decade of work under the Nescafé Plan 2030.
“Climate change is putting coffee-growing areas under pressure. Building on 10 years of experience with the Nescafé Plan, we’re accelerating our work to help tackle climate change and address social and economic challenges in the Nescafé value chains,” said David Rennie, Head of Nestlé Coffee Brands.
Rising temperatures will reduce the area suitable for growing coffee by up to 50% by 2050. At the same time, around 125 million people depend on coffee for their livelihoods and an estimated 80% of coffee-farming families live at or below the poverty line. Action is needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of coffee.
“As the world’s leading coffee brand, Nescafé aims to have a real impact on coffee farming globally. We want coffee farmers to thrive as much as we want coffee to have a positive impact on the environment. Our actions can help drive change throughout the coffee industry,” said Philipp Navratil Head of Nestlé’s Coffee Strategic Business Unit.
Regenerative agriculture is an approach to farming that aims to improve soil health and fertility – as well as protect water resources and biodiversity. Healthier soils are more resilient to the impacts of climate change and can increase yields, helping improve farmers’ livelihoods.
Nescafé will provide farmers with training, technical assistance, and high-yielding coffee plantlets to help them transition to regenerative coffee farming practices. Some examples of regenerative agriculture practices include the following, planting cover crops helps to protect the soil, it also helps add biomass to the soil and which can increase soil organic matter and thus soil carbon sequestration.
It will also incorporate organic fertilizers that contribute to soil fertility, which is essential for good soil health, increasing the use of agroforestry. Intercropping contributes to biodiversity preservation, and pruning existing coffee trees or replacing them with disease and climate-change-resistant varieties, will help rejuvenate coffee plots and increase yields for farmers.
Nescafé will give cash incentives for farmers who will be adopting regenerative agriculture practices, greater access to credit lines for farmers, and income protection using weather insurance in its pilot financial scheme in Mexico,Cote d’Ivoire, and Indonesia to accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture.
The African continent has more than ten coffee-producing countries, among which the five largest are Ethiopia, with 7.7 million bags, corresponding to 41% of the total produced, followed by Uganda, with 4.9 million bags (26%), third, Cote d’Ivoire (2.2 million bags – 12%), in the fourth position, Tanzania (900 thousand bags – 5%), and, in fifth, Kenya (844 thousand bags, with approximately 4%). The other countries have an estimated production of 2.2 million bags, a number that corresponds to only 12% of the production of all African countries.