The Blog

Agroforestry and coffee in Madagascar

Agroforestry and coffee in Madagascar

While we often hear about lemurs, vanilla and other spices when talking about Madagascar, we don’t always think about coffee. However, Madagascar has been a long-time producer of coffee – both arabica and robusta which is mainly bought, sold and consumed in local markets. You will find coffee in almost any local market, and usually […]

Cacao Agroforestry Systems – A Cost Benefit Analysis

Cacao Agroforestry Systems – A Cost Benefit Analysis

Building on Dan McQuillan’s Coffeelands Blog series on issues surrounding farm profitability, I want to shift a bit to the world of Cacao and highlight some work coming out of CRS’ Allianza Cacao program in El Salvador. Agroforestry approaches, increasingly promoted globally, present a complex set of challenges for evaluation – with so many interrelated variables, what is the […]

New USAID Report on Private Sector’s Role in Sustainability and Scale: 5 key takeaways from the Enduring Results Study

New USAID Report on Private Sector’s Role in Sustainability and Scale: 5 key takeaways from the Enduring Results Study

The recently released Enduring Results Study 3.0 led by CRS takes on a task that few projects have the luxury of doing – it takes a retrospective look at project outcomes two years after funding has ended to evaluate drivers of sustainability and scale. Drawn from 29 USAID partnerships with the private sector, the ERS 3.0 is […]

New book: Value Chain Development and the Poor

New book: Value Chain Development and the Poor

A quick entry here as I want to point people in the direction of new collection of studies on value chains. Value Chains – Value Chain Development and the Poor: Promise, Delivery, and Opportunities for Impact at Scale, edited by Jason Donovan (CIMMYT), Dietmar Stoian (World Agroforestry), and Jon Hellin (IRRI) is published by Practical Action […]

Innovations at Origin: Young Coffee Entrepreneurs

Innovations at Origin: Young Coffee Entrepreneurs

After reading Bloomberg’s article on cost of production and profitability for Guatemalan growers earlier this month, There Is No Money in High-end Coffee for Guatemalan Growers, I was inspired to add a few more posts to last year’s multi-article series on profitability in the Latin American Coffeelands (series begins here). I want to highlight an […]

Moving from Savings Groups to Agroenterprises

Moving from Savings Groups to Agroenterprises

Among the questions posed in the last entry was:  What are the best ways to organize farmers and achieve economies of scale? What models outside of cooperatives may be more realistic and sustainable? Contained within the question is whether how a group is formed matters. Does the path to forming a group orientated around a business objective matter? […]

An Expansion of the Coffeelands Blog

An Expansion of the Coffeelands Blog

After more than a decade since the inception of the Coffeelands Blog, in 2009, it’s time to take things in a new direction. The formal Coffeelands program has officially come to an end, providing us with natural point for reflection and an inflection point for the blog. As we move forward in our work, what […]

Innovations at Origin: Water Smart Agriculture–Agua y Suelo para la Agricultura (ASA)

Innovations at Origin: Water Smart Agriculture–Agua y Suelo para la Agricultura (ASA)

In coffee projects around the world, best practices and increasing yields are often the lynchpin in the strategy to improve smallholder´s livelihoods. By definition a smallholder has a small tract of land, so the logic goes, that to compete they need to maximize their production. However, as smallholders know well, maximizing production often means higher […]

Innovative Models at Origin: Can selling coffee in cherry be profitable?

Innovative Models at Origin: Can selling coffee in cherry be profitable?

It is often taken as accepted wisdom that smallholders need to move up the value chain–aggregate, process, trade directly—to be competitive and profitable in the coffee industry. Smallholders who aren´t part of a cooperative with certifications, cupping labs, mills, and an export license will never break out of a cycle of intermediation and poverty. This […]

Innovative Models at Origin: A Territorial Approach to Communal Land Management and Income Diversification

Innovative Models at Origin: A Territorial Approach to Communal Land Management and Income Diversification

Coffee farmers across origin countries search for and develop innovative business, production and management models as they seek out profitable and sustainable livelihood strategies. These interesting and diverse “solutions in process” enjoy varying degrees of success. Sistema Comunitario para el Resguardo y Manejo de la Biodiversidad (SICOBI), whose model is a blend of territorial management, […]