Carbon Footprint Reporting on coffee farms in Vietnam for USAID, IDH and JDE

Carbon Footprint Reporting on coffee farms in Vietnam for USAID, IDH and JDE

Agri-Logic is presently carrying out Carbon Footprint Reporting on behalf of USAID, IDH and JDE based on the data of ~14,000 coffee farmers in Vietnam. The carbon footprint of farmers will be calculated based on estimation of each farmer’s carbon emissions and carbon stocks on the coffee farms. Farmers’ carbon footprint will be compared to explanatory variables and farm profitability. Furthermore, the effect of project interventions by a range of organisations on the carbon footprint will be evaluated.

Final recommendations will tie the conclusions into a set of suggestions on how to move forward at the level of the supply chain management companies on how to work practically with farmers in their supply chain on reducing emissions while maintaining or enhancing yields and profitability. At programme level recommendations for scaling up of the involved initiatives will be formulated.

Assessment of the impact of certification on Ivorian cocoa farmers for Rainforest Alliance

Assessment of the impact of certification on Ivorian cocoa farmers for Rainforest Alliance

What are the impacts of certification for cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire? In an impact assessment for Rainforest Alliance Agri-Logic compared certified cocoa farmers with non-certified farmers. The assessment focused on comparing key outcomes: production, yields, profitability and income at farmer level as well as comparing the driving factors behind these outcomes and the contribution of certification to these outcomes.

Key findings of the impact assessment:

  • Certified farmers show a greater reduction in the use of biocides that fall in the Highly Hazardous Pesticides group as defined by the Pesticide Action Network.
  • Certified farmers are more likely to use fertilisers. Their higher rate of savings provides them with a greater capacity to invest. Nevertheless, their choice of fertiliser material is equally skewed towards phosphorus-based products and they show a similar nutrient imbalance with far too little nitrogen being applied as do non-certified farmers.
  • The hours of work on carried out by minors is significantly lower on certified farms, after controlling for other factors, certified farmers use 33% less working hours made by minors. While the data does not allow the distinction between child labour and child work as defined by the International Organization of Labour (ILO), we conclude that the risk at child labour is lower at certified farms.
  • Certified farmers dedicate fewer hours to activities that are likely to result in better yields such as pruning, collecting diseased pods and pruning of shade trees.
  • Certified farmers are more likely to use formal banking services and tend to have lower debt levels and greater savings than non-certified farmers. These are of course desirable phenomena in their own right, but do not make certified farmers more profitable. Consequently, the incidence of poverty, whether measured as the share of farmers living below the international poverty line or the living income benchmark does not differ significantly between certified and non-certified farmers.
  • Cocoa production drives much of the income that farmers obtain and without meaningful changes in farmers’ nutrient management (fertilising and using an appropriate type of fertiliser) we do not expect to see much change in the reduction of poverty among cocoa farmers. This phenomenon helps to explain why despite years of investment in cocoa-growing communities change on the ground has been limited.
Made-by-women specialty cocoa and chocolate

Made-by-women specialty cocoa and chocolate

Thirty Six Foods has partnered with the Able Women Multipurpose Cooperative in Cross-River State and Rokbar to bring high quality and sustainable chocolate to market both in Nigeria and The Netherlands. The partners are creating a chocolate bar fully made by women and produced in Nigeria. The partnership aims to empower female cocoa farmers through access to specialty cocoa markets.

As part of the project partnership, Agri-Logic conducted a baseline measurement on farmer livelihoods and provided training on cocoa quality to the farmer’s cooperative. Agri-Logic also took on project management and reporting to partners.

The Able Women are now formally registered, trained and have a solar dryer in place. A commercial agreement between the cooperative and the chocolate company will ensure buying of cocoa going forward. 

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)
Farmer Field Book implementation Ghana

Farmer Field Book implementation Ghana

Sustainable Management Services Ghana (part of Ecom group), a number of its chocolate manufacturing clients and IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative run a large scale sustainability programme in Ghana targeting tens of thousands of cocoa farmers. The programme aims to improve their productivity, profitability and in turn enhance farmer loyalty. All parties expressed a need to gain better insight into farm and farmer performance and an enhanced understanding of the programme’s effects.

To meet the requirements, Agri-Logic is assisting Ecom and its partners to implement the Farmer Field Book. Close to 1,075 farmers across 43 districts keep daily records of all their activities, investments and outputs on their cocoa farms. This information is collected every 2 weeks and digitised in the FFB software. Every year each farmer receives a detailed agronomic and economic profit & loss statement as well as a group report that details the performance of each farmer versus that of his/her peers. Agri-Logic trains Ecom staff on implementation of the FFB and supports the implementation by analysing the collected data at different levels. At company level a sophisticated report is made each year that details the effects of Ecom-provided training and inputs to farmers on e.g. productivity, profitability and loyalty. Data from Ghana is then merged with FFB data from other cocoa-producing countries for meta analysis of the IDH cocoa programme.

Results so far:

  • 64 Ecom management and staff trained in FFB implementation
  • Same staff trained on farm level data analysis
  • 1075 farmers keep records on a daily basis
  • Collection of the third year’s data currently on-going
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)