4C, Melitta Europa and DEG celebrate first year of initiative supporting young coffee growers


On 15 June 2021, 4C, Melitta Europa, and Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG), celebrated the first anniversary of their three-year sustainability project partnership in Magdalena, Colombia.

The initiative aims to improve sustainable agriculture management in Colombian coffee growers, while increasing European market uptake.

It is hoped this will contribute to long-term economic growth for the farmers, increasing its attractiveness toward young adults.

Magdalena was chosen based on market links, remote sensing technologies, and local businesses.

Jan Rischkopf, Sustainability Manager at Melitta Europa says, “Having identified Magdalena as the project implementation region to best achieve impact on the ground and where the most need for intervention exists, fits into our vision, among other things, to support the market access of the farmers of the project.”

Global Risk Assessment Services conducted an overview analysis, studying data on the regions protected and high carbon stock areas as well as areas with potential deforestation and converted grassland. National social indices were also examined, creating an overall risk index for each section.

The Alliance for Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture further compiled information on social, environmental, and economic challenges preventing youth from joining the coffee production industry.

Factors such as high production cost and risk of deforestation coupled with low productivity and lack of farm income diversification has made the industry less appealing to youth.

Low income, heavy work. and low social recognition have also contributed to a shift from young adults moving to the city.

In November 2020, 4C gathered 38 participants consisting of not-for-profits, companies, and local coffee cooperatives in an online workshop to present these findings and search for solutions. It was here Magdalena was selected as the region with the greatest need for project intervention.

In early 2021 the company began work in Magdalena, socialising with the region’s coffee growers and their committees.

Moving forward, target audiences will be reached through radio programs, SMS, poster, and field visits with the project’s objectives shared with these young adults.

The programs training program is currently under development in collaboration with the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (FNC).

Diego Robles Marcucci, Sustainable Trade Specialist at FNC says, “For the FNC, it is a commitment to work for the well-being of Colombian coffee growing families and the development of the country, and therefore, we are proud to work with allies such as 4C to generate value through the development of projects that increase the opportunities and profitability of coffee growers.”

The training program is expected to be the main vehicle of change to Magdalena’s coffee industry with different approaches and methodologies to be applied.

This includes train-the-trainer trainings, demonstration farms as training grounds, and field schools for farmers and young adults.

This initiative forms part of develoPPP, a program launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. DEG is one of the two official partners of the program, with devloPPP seeking to encourage private sector involvement where business and development opportunities lay.

“Within the framework of the DeveloPPP project, we will be able to generate important synergies with relevant actors in the supply chain to contribute to the profitability of coffee growing and the well-being of coffee growers,” says Marcucci.

For more information on the project and baseline study, please click here.

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