How farmers can benefit from boom in quality coffee.

Author:Weston, Daniel

Nespresso sources a good deal of its coffee from East African countries. Daniel Weston, the company's head of communications, explains why its sustainable approach is not only helping African farmers increase their incomes from the crop but is also strengthening community cohesion and development.

Climate change is an issue for coffee farmers around the world and the area that is hardest hit is the equatorial belt--that's where coffee grows. The result is either intensely long, dry periods and drought or very heavy rainfall--and both of them are as devastating as the other, but it is not a uniquely African problem.

While climate change will always be an issue, what seems to affect African coffee most is productivity. One factor is how much each country prioritises its coffee production.

What is interesting is that in some countries we are starting to see more and more coffee production.

I think there are two trends--there are countries that see coffee as a real opportunity and they're investing in it and then there are countries where even though the prices are very high for the coffees--because they are exceptional coffees--there has been so little investment for so long that the level of productivity is very low and farmers aren't making much money.

Our Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Programme offers free training to farmers to help them to grow better quality coffee and to improve their productivity, in a way that protects the environment --so they can sell their coffee at a premium, and earn more money. In this way we can make an enormous difference, not just environmental and socially sustainable, but also to the high quality and productivity of African coffee and coffee farms.

We believe that coffee can be a vehicle for positive social change. Let me explain: Coffee is a really interesting crop particularity in an African context where farm sizes are very small.

That means that there are a very large number of small farms involved. As a result, when you get income into a community at that level, it then recirculates many more times within the whole community and ultimately creates a lot of local GDP.

This then leads to social change; when the farmers start to have more money of course they can then start to do things like sending their kids to school, pay for healthcare and maybe, they can start up a small business on the side. So the benefits of living in a coffee community can be enormous.

We see the effects of this even more...

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