Deforestation, biodiversity loss and social issues are connected to coffee cultivation. Most of the coffee produced worldwide comes from smallholder producers who depend on selling their coffee for their livelihoods but often face problems of low yields, little income and lack of market access. Frequently, the only option they see to increase their income is to expand into forested areas. It is, therefore, necessary to provide the right incentives to the smallholders, by connecting improved quality and market access with increased productivity.
Currently, 4C certification covers more than 300,000 smallholder producers. 4C sees smallholder integration and engagement as a priority, as growing coffee sustainably contributes to environmental protection and social welfare. Apart from that, sustainability became a prerequisite for increased market acceptance as more and more companies are committed to sourcing sustainable deforestation-free coffee. Hence, 4C pursues an inclusive approach, which is intended to enable smallholders to enter certification in order to achieve a real impact on the ground in a continuous improvement process.
4C is working with innovative tools and technologies, such as the Independent Smallholder App, which allows mapping individual field’s polygons directly on-site. A user-friendly interface and process automatization help smallholders to define coordinates of their farms easier and in a precise manner.
This step supports Managing Entities of 4C Units, auditors and 4C to monitor smallholder compliance with 4C sustainability criteria, e.g. to identify, whether the farm is in the proximity of protected areas or any deforestation or biodiversity loss happened on its territory or nearby. Through the Smallholder Management Tool efficient data management is possible. The collected data can be used to conduct a more thorough analysis of sustainability criteria and visualization of smallholder data.