We believe in the power of local and global collaboration, which is essential to make the coffee sector thrive and achieve long term sustainability. Together with the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) we have a mission to transform local action into global change. As part of its Sector Partnership Program, Rainforest Alliance funds and helps the setup of various National Coffee Platforms (NCPs). Christiane Hornikel, Lead Sustainable Productivity & Farmer Group Strengthening explains how these national platforms play an important role in our mission.
“National Coffee Platforms bring together public and private stakeholders in the coffee sector to collectively work on local priorities and share experiences on how to tackle the challenges in coffee sector”, says Christiane. “There are already visible benefits filtering down to many coffee producing countries.” A few examples.
Large scale learning in Indonesia
In Indonesia, the fourth biggest coffee exporting country, the Sustainable Coffee Platform supported the Ministry of Agriculture launched the National Sustainability Curriculum for Arabica and Robusta coffee. Christiane: “This learning program led to training opportunities about good agricultural and manufacturing practices for thousands of Indonesian coffee farmers. An important step in a country where outdated farming practices keep the level of productivity low, compared to other countries.”
Farm-level projects in Uganda
The Uganda Coffee Platform, one of the forerunners of the NCPs, has mostly been focusing on supporting and driving farm-level sustainability initiatives. “Think of developing and transferring technical expertise to farmers”, explains Christiane, “and advising on local policy regarding coffee production and sustainability. The platform holds trainings and produces extension materials which are easy to access and use for farmers.”
Improving livelihoods in Honduras
The most recently founded national platform is the Honduras Sustainable Coffee Platform. It was launched on 1 November, 2018 with the support of GCP, Solidaridad, and the Rainforest Alliance. Honduras is the fifth largest producer of coffee in the world, but climate change-related problems and low global prices hinder farmer livelihoods. Christiane: “The platform aims at combatting this problem by supporting small coffee producers and their families in the country. Among the main priorities are sustainable and environmentally friendly coffee production, the improvement of consistency in coffee quality, economic viability, and gender and youth advocacy.”
The Sector Partnership Program
Many of the challenges faced by farmers have their causes beyond the farm gate, such as climate change, child labor, low wages or gender equality. Through the UTZ Sector Partnership program, the Rainforest Alliance is strengthening the voice of farmers and civil society organizations in producing countries. “We are supporting them to work with governments and companies to address these structural issues together, with the aim to achieve lasting sustainability across sectors. These National Coffee Platforms are a great example of how action on a local level can lead to global change“, concludes Christiane.