Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (known as CIAT, its acronym in Spanish) collaborated several years ago on research in Mexico and Central America that has helped put the issue of food security on the map in the specialty coffee industry. My colleagues in East Africa will be conducting similar research in Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda in the coming months in connection with Green Mountain-funded food security projects in those countries. As far as I know, this will be the first-ever household-level data on hunger in the coffeelands in East Africa.
Yesterday — day three of Food Security Solutions — we began the day by dividing into groups again to begin another two-day workshop. In the evening, we ended the day by coming together to discuss an issue that affects us all and will shape the food security lanscape for generations to come — climate change. In between, I found time to visit with farmers and staff of CECOCAFEN and spend some time with the very talented photographer Clay Enos.
Reuters recently published an article that warns about the likely impacts of climate change on coffee farming here and explains what our partners at CIAT are trying to do about it.
We have partnering with CIAT (the International Center for Tropical Agriculture) to implement a climate change adaptation project with funding from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Coffee Under Pressure: Climate Change and Adaptation in Mesoamerica (or CUP for short) is helping farmers assess their own vulnerability to climate change and adapt to changing conditions on the ground. We also hope this modest project can show a way forward in the ongoing search for cost-effective, scalable ways to bring actionable climate change research to smallholder farmers.
I have been writing in recent weeks about the issue of hunger. You may be asking yourself what hunger has to do with coffee. Unfortunately, and notwithstanding the extraordinary advances made by the sustainable and certified coffee movements, hunger is still common in the coffeelands.