Cocoa sustainability management Nigeria & Ghana

Cocoa sustainability management Nigeria & Ghana

The cocoa sector is constantly considering sustainability. Low quality and low yields are a continued focus. Livelihoods, poverty, nutrition and education require attention. Most large chocolate makers have committed to sourcing 100% certified as sustainable in 2020. Many of these end buyers require increased volumes of certified cocoa, while considering their impact targets beyond 2020. All international traders and several local exporters have partnered with these large chocolate brands for sustainable impact.

Through our consulting branch in Nigeria, we support implementers throughout West Africa in designing the project objectives, organization structure, traceability procedures and budget. We are working as a project liaison monitoring progress and impact. We have analysed the project baseline, and are monitoring progress. We identify any project risks that might affect certification status, our outreach targets and our credibility. We look for opportunities to increase impact.

We integrate sustainable impact with commercial objectives. Since 2016, we have supported our clients and partners who have reached out to a significant number of farmers across West Africa, and the numbers and impact keep expanding annually. UTZ certification was obtained, and the field presence is leveraged to increase impact on livelihoods.

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.

Business case certified sustainable coffee DR Congo

Business case certified sustainable coffee DR Congo

ELAN DRC is a large scale value chain programme funded by DFID and implemented by Adam Smith International. For its coffee value chain programme in the Kivu’s, Agri-Logic was contracted to conduct a business case analysis ofor growing and exporting certified sustainable coffee.

Over a two-week period we conducted interviews and focus group discussions with coffee farmers, local exporters and cooperatives. Further interviews with international traders, coffee roasters, NGOs and certification agencies were held to collect sufficient data.

Analysis showed a reasonable business case for organic certified coffee, possibly in combination with Fairtrade, but only if the latter could be marketed sufficiently well. Our modelling showed that implementing of mainstream standards like UTZ Certified, 4C and Rainforest Alliance in this sector does not yield significant economic benefits for farmers and exporters alike. This is due to low volumes of coffee per farmer  and an above average quality profile, the buyers of which usually go for more demanding standards. As a result the ELAN DRC programme is currently rethinking its coffee strategy.

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)