Farmer Field Book for ISLA Vietnam

Farmer Field Book for ISLA Vietnam

IDH’s landscapes programme, ISLA, works together with government, business and civil society to improve livelihoods and contribute to economic development while minimizing environmental harm. One of the focus regions is the Central Highlands region in Vietnam. To gain a better understanding of the effects of its interventions on farmers, industry and landscapes, rigorously collected data at farm level is required.

IDH and the implementing partners in Vietnam use the Farmer Field Book (FFB) methodology to allow rigorous monitoring & evaluation for the ISLA programme. Agri-Logic has developed special software functionalities for this programme and supported the training of field staff. We also perform a large part of the data analysis and reporting of results.

The FFB approach for ISLA includes reports at four levels: the individual farmer level, the farmer group level, the company level and the ISLA programme level. The first set of reports was delivered in July 2017, covering the crop year 2016-2017. The ISLA-level report can be viewed here. The reports cover topics such as farm economics of different production systems, toxic loading, carbon footprint, farm economic and agronomic performance and assessment of production practices’  influence on productivity and profitability.

ISLA Vietnam Farmer Field Book analysis 2016-17 (IDH & partners)
Coffee Sustainability Catalogue

Coffee Sustainability Catalogue

The coffee sector has invested heavily in sustainability for decades, recognizing that we must ensure our ability to meet rising demand for coffee while also increasing the prosperity and well-being of producers and conserving nature. In 2014, leaders in the sector came together to develop a vision for coffee sustainability  that resulted in Vision 2020: a call for improved alignment within the sector on our sustainability efforts.

In late 2015 the Global Coffee Platform, the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge jointly recognized the need to inventory existing efforts to make coffee a sustainable agricultural product, understand who is doing what sort of work, where the investments are going and how we can better understand and share our impacts and experiences.

The report compiles information on the sustainability initiatives of more than 80 stakeholders throughout the coffee sector. The Catalogue sheds light on sustainability efforts currently underway, and how actors in the sector can collaborate to make coffee the world’s first fully sustainable agricultural product. It includes a mapping of aims, interventions and investment.

Several key findings from report include:

  • Across the coffee industry, more than $350 million is being invested annually in sustainability programs. Collective efforts are also enabling the industry to reach 350,000 farmers each year – a figure that has nearly doubled in the last 15 years.
  • Certification is a tool commonly used to increase consumer awareness, social inclusiveness, traceability and assurance and incentives.
  • The report estimates that transitioning the entire sector to sustainable production is possible, but at the current rate of investment, it would require a total investment of $4.1 billion to achieve and would take until 2045 to incorporate all coffee producers.
Coffee Sustainability Catalogue – full report (GCP-SCA-SCC)
Coffee Sustainability Catalogue – summary factsheet (GCP-SCA-SCC)
Coffee Sustainability Catalogue – initiatives framework (GCP-SCA-SCC)
Coffee Sustainability Catalogue – stakeholder directory (GCP-SCA-SCC)
Coffee sustainability support for Olam

Coffee sustainability support for Olam

Agri-Logic supports the Olam global coffee business with designing and implementing projects to strengthen the farmer supply base that delivers to the company. We assist the Olam coffee business and the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability function of the company in developing small- and large scale interventions with their clients, donors, banks and governments. At their core these projects are designed to help unlock growth potential of small-scale coffee farmers, such that both farmers and the Olam businesses benefit. Such benefits can be found in greater supply, improved coffee quality, premium payments, more efficient supply chains as a result of group selling by farmers and extending credit to farmers. This project has been operational since July 2014.

Impact assessment UTZ coffee Vietnam

Impact assessment UTZ coffee Vietnam

JDE Coffee is one of the largest buyers of UTZ Certified coffee world wide. Together with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs the company co-funded a study to investigate the effects of training and UTZ certification on coffee farmers in Vietnam. Given their substantial commitment to the UTZ Certified programme as well as its significant investment in the DE Foundation, it wanted to know whether buying of certified coffee, as well as the activities of the DE Foundation have an impact on farmers.

In collaboration with Wageningen University and Research, Agri-Logic designed a scientifically rigorous study using propensity score matching to create comparable groups of programme and non-programme farmers. By relying on a so-called difference in difference approach we were able to demonstrate causality of effects of training frequency, training and trainer quality as well as UTZ certification.

The main findings of this study with robusta coffee farmers and UTZ certification in Vietnam are that:

  1. Certification in this study primarily leads to access to training, uptake of management tools such as record keeping and investment planning, but not to significant improvements in farming efficiencies nor to better farm economic outcomes. Also, among the Vietnamese farmers in this research, UTZ certification by itself does not sufficiently tackle the main challenges such as over-irrigation and excessive fertilizer applications that the coffee sector is facing; and
  2. Improved farm management is primarily and positively affected by the amount and to a lesser extent by the quality of training that farmers have received.
The Sustainable Coffee Conundrum (DE Foundation)
Impact of Common Code for the Coffee Community

Impact of Common Code for the Coffee Community

In 2009 we were contracted by the 4C Association to conduct an impact assessment of the the implementation of its code of conduct in Vietnam, Uganda and Nicaragua. In 2014, 4C asked to revisit the same farmers in Uganda and Vietnam and conduct a similar study to identify and quantify long-term effects of its programme.

We designed an impact study for this that uses a difference-in-difference approach and relies on Propensity Score Matching to create realistic counter-factual scenarios. This allows us to answer the question: what would have happened to a farmer if s/he had decided not to join the 4C programme? Two experts from Wageningen University and Research provided extensive feedback on the research design and interpretation of results.

Farmers that are part of a 4C verified supply chain have more access to training. For farmers in Uganda, we confirm that 4C verified farmers are more efficient financially. Productivity has not changed significantly, but efficiency of production as measured by the production cost per Mt green coffee, has. In Vietnam, an origin where productivity is extremely high, we did not observe additional increases in productivity as a result of being 4C verified. Of the changes in economic and agronomic performance that are observed, none correlates with application of GAP training.

On the social dimension we again see notable effects in Uganda, but less so in Vietnam. A clear link between being 4C verified and an increase in dietary quality was confirmed for Uganda. In Vietnam we only see differences in wages paid to workers, which show a stronger and significant increase over time among 4C verified farmers.

Farmers that are part of a 4C verified supply chain have more access to training. For farmers in Uganda, we confirm that 4C verified farmers are more efficient financially. Productivity has not changed significantly, but efficiency of production as measured by the production cost per Mt green coffee, has. In Vietnam, an origin where productivity is extremely high, we did not observe additional increases in productivity as a result of being 4C verified. Of the changes in economic and agronomic performance that are observed, none correlates with application of GAP training.

On the social dimension we again see notable effects in Uganda, but less so in Vietnam. A clear link between being 4C verified and an increase in dietary quality was confirmed for Uganda. In Vietnam we only see differences in wages paid to workers, which show a stronger and significant increase over time among 4C verified farmers.

Environmental performance is hardly affected by 4C. Only in Uganda did 4C verified farmers take significantly less new land into production for coffee. Other environmental aspects were not impacted in either country.

Cost and benefit of certification for smallholders

Cost and benefit of certification for smallholders

Certification of agricultural products (organic certification, Fairtrade etc.) is often expected to provide a wide array of benefits for small-scale farmers. These include poverty alleviation, reduced environmental impact and food safety. Together with Wageningen Economic Research we reviewed 270 studies and present an analysis of the benefits – but also the costs – of such schemes. It demonstrates that the decision to invest must be based on sound economic principles, and the text also provides recommendations to improve the certification business case and impact on smallholders.

The Sustainable Coffee Conundrum (DE Foundation)