Boosting climate resilience for Colombian coffee growers

September 29, 2016

Coffee grower

Cenicafé

IDRC, Tim Hortons, and Cenicafé joining forces in a new partnership. Their goal is to reduce the vulnerability of Colombia’s smallholder coffee growers to the climate-related challenges posing a serious threat to livelihoods.

Funding from the two-year, CA$1.12 million venture will allow Cenicafé — the advisory arm of Colombia’s national coffee federation — to support coffee farmers to develop strategies for improving productivity and adapting to climate threats. This will help farmers stabilize their livelihoods and be more competitive in the face of climate change, while securing the supply and quality of their coffee. 

Cenicafé researchers will also receive assistance from staff at the Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership, a farmer-support program established in 2005 to improve the businesses and lives of coffee farmers. Working in two coffee-growing areas in Colombia’s Risaralda Department and one in Caldas, the group will collect and analyze data on climate and land-use changes; project future trends; and assess and test adaptation methods with local farmers.

Colombia is the world’s third-largest coffee producer, with 2.5 million Colombians depending on coffee for their livelihoods. The country’s coffee-growing areas endure higher temperatures, less predictable rainfall, and increases in pests and plant diseases. For example, devastating fungal disease and other related climate-change impacts attacked coffee plants in 2011, slashing Colombia’s production by 40% and forcing some poorer farmers to abandon their crops.

IDRC President Jean Lebel called the partnership with Tim Hortons an exciting opportunity to increase the reach of solutions to an urgent development challenge, potentially benefiting millions of people in Colombia and beyond. “Canada’s IDRC looks forward to refining and scaling up the solutions this innovative partnership between the private and public sectors will produce,” he said.

Read the full news release