Press Release: 4C Project with Melitta Europa and DEG – Improving working and living conditions for coffee smallholders in Colombia

4C partners with Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. KG. – Division Coffee – and DEG to foster sustainability of the Colombian coffee production

4C Services and Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. KG – Division Coffee – are proud to announce the start of a joint project on “Improving working and living conditions for coffee smallholders in Colombia”, co-financed by DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH from funds of the program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), together with funds of Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. KG  – Division Coffee – and 4C Services GmbH.

The project was successfully launched on 15 June 2020. Its main objectives include improving sustainable agricultural management of Colombian coffee smallholder farms to contribute to long-term economic and ecologic viability, increasing attractiveness for young adults, as well as market uptake in Europe.


Coffee production in Colombia and how the project aims to address its challenges

Coffee production is one of the most important agricultural activities for the Colombian economy. Yet, aging farmers, ecologic and economic challenges, amplified by climate change make coffee production in Colombia less attractive for smallholders: families, especially young adults, leave coffee production for growing other crops or migrate from the land. Introduction of good, socially and environmentally sustainable farming practices is crucial to maintain future coffee production in Colombia, improving the efficiency of farm management and generating increased income, and together with certification enabling better market access and trade opportunities.

The project will develop and implement, based on a thorough baseline-study, an improvement program for the smallholders with the target of long-term viability as well as increasing attractiveness of the sector for young adults. Farmers, young adults, and other stakeholders in the pilot regions and other interested actors in the sector will be involved. Implementation oriented trainings for master trainers, young adults and farmers and the set-up of demonstration farms to serve as farmer field schools will be central to the program as well as the linkage of more sustainable coffee production to buyers in the EU market.

“We are purchasing 4C certified coffee since the founding of 4C, and we annually increase our percentage of sustainably certified coffee. We are happy to reach a new level of partnership with this joint project. For us, the improvement of livelihoods of coffee smallholders in Colombia is crucial to ensure a sustainable supply of Colombian coffee in the future. For our “Melitta® Kaffee des Jahres 2020” we are sourcing 4C certified coffee from Colombia.” says Jan Rischkopf, Sustainability Manager at Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. KG – Division Coffee –.

“I am excited that together with its partners 4C will take action to improve the livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers in Colombia,” – Myriel Camp, 4C Program Manager. “Through this common effort, we pursue improved agricultural practices implementation by up to 1000 coffee farmers who in their turn can expect better yields of sustainable and deforestation-free coffee. We also hope that up to 500 young adults will be motivated to remain a part of a sustainable coffee production process.”

Overall, the project intends to achieve improvements in multiple areas, such as strengthening capacity for adaptation to climate change, increasing income diversification to reduce livelihood vulnerability as well as empowering the young adults and expanding their working opportunities in the coffee sector. Further key aspirations of the current project include improved access to resources and technical assistance, enhanced relationships between the coffee producers and industry and enabling increased sustainable coffee production through 4C certification.


About the develoPPP program

develoPPP is a program launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in 1999 in order to foster the involvement of the private sector in areas where business opportunities and development policy initiatives overlap. DEG is one of the two official partners appointed by BMZ to implement the develoPPP program on its behalf.

For almost 60 years, DEG has been a reliable partner to private-sector enterprises operating in developing and emerging-market countries. Since the launch of the develoPPP program, DEG has implemented over 1,000 projects worldwide. “With the co-financing for this joint porject on improving working and living conditions for coffee smallholders in Colombia, we expect to establish direct links between coffee producers and the coffee industry to improve sustainability and promote long term collaboration” – Claudia Makowski, Senior Investment Manager, DEG.

For further details about the project, please click here.