International Coffee Partners (ICP) reviews the year 2022 with its challenges for coffee farming communities and shares what possible solutions can look like.
August 3, 2023. In many coffee-growing regions around the world, the year 2022 began with relief that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were slowly receding. Smallholder farming families were once again beginning to see positive economic development. Then Russia attacked Ukraine, with terrible humanitarian consequences for the country. Indirect effects also impacted the rest of Europe and even tropical regions as supply chains were disrupted. These global events, combined with the ongoing effects of climate change, such as droughts and erratic weather events, left many families in a vulnerable situation. They were confronted with high farm input prices, food insecurity, and increased migratory pressures.
Solutions to such unpredictable adversities can be greater independence from the global agricultural input market, higher self-sufficiency when it comes to food production, and strategies to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change. In 2022, ICP particularly focused on these measures which are integral components of the general ICP approach.
More Independence from External Inputs Allows for Continuity in Agricultural Production
ICP promoted the production of organic fertilizers and Integrated Pest and Disease Management for farmers to become more independent from external inputs. This included the production of biochar, bokashi, and compost as fertilizers, for example in Indonesia and Brazil. In Tanzania, farmers were trained on the use of animal oil fats to control infestations of the coffee steam borer and bottle traps for the coffee berry borer. Newly introduced were neem tree extracts, tephrosia, and ginger as biopesticides because they are locally available, cost-effective, and reduce the chemical exposure risks for smallholder farming families and the environment.
Combining Cash with Food Crops Improves Food Security and Income Options
Measures to improve food security included vegetable gardens and training on intercropping coffee with other cash and food crops. In Central America, for instance, intercropping can be done with basic grains such as corn, beans, and cassava as well as fruits such as avocado, lime, and forest trees. This allows for a more efficient use of the farm space, generates higher income, and contributes to improved nutrition and food security. In the Indonesian ICP project, oyster mushroom production on coffee waste was successfully trialed, showing promising results for better food security and additional family income.
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies are Key to Resilience
ICP’s work with regard to climate change is covered through the approach of the initiative for coffee&climate (c&c). In 2022, the project in Tanzania, for example, set a strong focus on soil management to mitigate the effects of climate change: Various mulching methods were introduced in the training, including dry mulch and live mulch to suppress weed growth, regulate soil temperature, control erosion, and retain soil moisture.
All these measures are generally part of ICP’s approach which includes many aspects of the livelihoods of coffee farming families: strengthening family businesses and farmer organizations, addressing climate change, empowering youth, and promoting gender equality. With this approach, ICP has reached more than 115,000 coffee-farming households since its founding in 2001.
More information on ICP’s work in 2022 can be found in the organization’s Annual Report 2022: International Coffee Partners - Annual Report 2022