UGANDA – Olam International, a multinational agribusiness company has joined forces with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to improve Ugandan coffee farmers’ resilience to climate change.

Olam, as a major coffee exporter in Uganda, is co-funding the project in the Mt Elgon region in the country as it seeks to promote cost saving initiatives in the short-term with an overall aim of creating a more sustainable supply.

IITA and Olam have identified three main challenges facing coffee farmers in Uganda in the face of climate variability and low global coffee prices.  

This include; climate risks and weather variability jeopardizing coffee yields; limited farmer adoption of climate smart practices; and the commodity’s supply and quality risk.

According to the firm, the project is seeking to ensure that coffee farmers continue to invest in coffee in sustainable ways that enable them to grow production and quality.

In the face of climate change, the partners work together to create an affordable pathway for farmer adoption of climate smart practices to help build resilience and secure a quality sustainable supply of coffee.

Olam & IITA approach entails understanding the diversity of coffee farmers based on resources and farmer entrepreneurship informing segmentation of farmers into groups.

In addition, the partnership also seeks to enhance climate smart agriculture adoption to smallholder coffee farmers through making up ‘climate-smart investment pathways’.

The project will also utilize demonstration plots to monitor the impact of the Stepwise Approach on coffee in the select regions and act as farmer field schools to build farmer capacity and confidence in practice adoption.

The project will help the firm more efficiently use resources in the short-term to accurately match farmer needs and motivations with targeted support while also building farmer climate resilience in the long-term, creating a more sustainable supply of coffee.

For IITA, the partnership puts relevant tools in the hands of the private sector where activities and impact is better scaled.

Companies are trying to come up with ways to maintain coffee supply and quality levels in this environment, which can be supported by promoting farmer resilience and identifying innovative ways to decrease or share risk with farmers for investment.