Tag Archives: Coffee

From the Vietnamese highlands, a story about coffee and sun

Coffee Clima­te Ca­re (C3) project

To combat the rising temperatures and extreme weather patterns producers in Vietnam are facing due to climate change, UTZ Certified has been running a 3 ­year project to help producers recognize and identify­ the risks the­y face and introduce measures that will enable them to adapt.

The project, Coffee Climate Care – C3, helps the producers recognize their vulnerabilities to climate change and implement measures to cope with them. Henriette Walz, UTZ’ Climate Change & Environmental expert is at the moment in Vietnam visiting the farmers participating in the C3 project and assessing its status and effects.

Henriette Walz, Climate Change and Environmental expert - UTZ Certified

Henriette Walz, Climate Change and Environmental expert – UTZ Certified

“Most striking for me so far is a shift in mindset of the farmers concerning good agricultural practices. Through learning in-depth about climate change and at the same time feeling the impact it has on their farms, a lot of them now want to implement agricultural practices that might have been recommended before, but were not implemented because of a focus on short term profits. In a way, climate change makes sustainable practices a necessity”, says Henriette.

In the upcoming weeks Henriette will be sharing her experience in Vietnam through the UTZ blog. Today, she interviews Pham Van Hoan, a 62 year old farmer, father of two, owner of a 0.9 ha Arabica coffee farm in the region of Lam Dong.

Pham Van Hoan, Lam Dong, Vietnam

Pham Van Hoan, Lam Dong, Vietnam

HW: How do you see climate change happening on your farm?

I know about climate change from the training in the C3 program. The weather used to be foreseeable, but it is not anymore. For example, in the rainy season, there used to be sun in the morning and it rained in the afternoon. Now it is not so regular. This is a big problem for the growth of coffee plants and a big problem for coffee production in the whole area. Through C3 we now know where it comes from and what we can do to prepare the coffee plantations and try to minimize where we cause climate change ourselves.

HW: What is the danger for your coffee crops?

That the flowers don’t develop into fruits but dry out. Also, before we did not need irrigation, now we do. Last, but not least, there are new pests. I have been growing Arabica coffee since 1999 and we never had any mosquito bugs affecting the plants. Now we do have them.

HW: What is the most important thing you have learned in the C3 project that will help you to deal with the effects of climate change?

I have learned which measures I can take to deal better with the challenges we face. Those are for example cover crops; I plant cover crops at the side of the plot and leave the grass on the field to protect against erosion. In the past I used to clear the plot, now I only cut the weeds before fertilization. This brings nutrition to the plants and lowers the temperature of the soil.

I am also planting shade trees. They are really important for Arabica trees. They get stronger and develop less secondary branches. My neighbors have seen this and now want to do the same, so have opened a nursery for pepper seedlings to supply them.

Shade trees protect coffee plants against climate change impacts

Shade trees protect coffee plants against climate change impacts

Also, I have changed the fertilization management. I had to hire additional labor for this, as I now apply the fertilizer much more targeted in trenches and I balance the NKP content (note: NKP stands for nitrogen, potassium and phosphate, the three most common components of fertilizers) so that it is adequate for my coffee trees.

HW: What has changed for you since your farm has been UTZ certified?

When I started working with UTZ, I got training on Good Agricultural Practices. Since then I haven’t sprayed any pesticides, for 3 years no herbicides, only fungicides.

HW: How do you see the future of coffee farming in this region?

Maybe the area of coffee production will be smaller in the future, or the productivity lower. This year has already been very tough, very dry. When Catimor (note: Catimor is the type of Arabica coffee he plants) flowers, they need a lot of water. In addition, prices are very low at the moment (6000VND-30Euro Cents per kg fresh cherry), so we will see how this develops.

“The biggest challenge of climate change in the Vietnamese Lam Dong region might be the lack of water in the dry season, while at the same time a higher need for irrigation due to higher temperatures. Only a combination of many actions will prepare farmers against this including some work on community and maybe governmental level. Nonetheless farmers are incredibly motivated to implement measure to make the farms more suitable against climate change impacts and decrease their own footprint after noticing the impacts and learning about it through the C3 trainings.” Henriette adds.

In the following days, Henriette will be moving north to visit the farms in the region of Dak Lak, don’t miss her stories. “How farmers adapt best to climate change depends on the region and the situation of the plantations: I am now traveling from our pilot group in the Lam Dong Area, where it is crucial for farmers to plant more shade trees, to the lower Dak Lak area where plantations are already shaded, as temperatures have already been higher in the past. Curious to see which measures are prioritized there!”

More information about the Coffee Climate Care (C3) project here. Also how UTZ Certified works towards a more sustainable future by tackling the effects of climate change.

Henriette Walz

Climate Change & Environmental Expert

Motivation: “Climate change is already affecting agriculture in many regions of the world. At the same time food production accounts for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions. By assisting consumers in supporting sustainable production methods, UTZ can reduce the impact of agriculture on the climate and increase the resilience of farmers to the effects of climate change.”

Talking coffee and sustainability with Jefferson Adorno – Brazilian coffee farmer

“I’m so proud to produce a sustainable coffee. Our Kaynã is a good coffee, good for those who consume it, good for those who help produce it and good for the planet. Knowing that there are people who value all this when they choose which coffee to buy encourages us to continue.

Jefferson Adorno (44), is a coffee farmer who lives and breathes sustainability. Jefferson’s Kaynã coffee grown in the São Paulo state of Brazil, is certified to UTZ and has been recognized with the prestigious Brazil Outstanding Coffee Grower award.

We caught up with Jefferson to find out how sustainability helps drive his work.

Jefferson, first of all: what brought you to coffee farming?

15 years ago I left my career in electronic engineering to start helping my father here on the coffee farm. My parents had already invested in improving conditions for workers on the farm and I built on that work to start developing environmental actions and new management techniques. After five years of hard work and difficulties we received the prestigious award ‘Brazil Outstanding Coffee Grower’ in 2009. This gave us courage and reinforced our belief that we were heading in the right direction.

Today I manage the farm with support from my wife Marianna, an agronomist and professor at UNIPINHAL University. Together with our two sons and daughter we live at the farm.

Why is sustainability important to you?

Sustainability for me is a very broad concept that is present in everything we do in our day-to-day lives. It comes down to the ethics of how we relate to each other – treating others as we would like them to treat us. This is what helps me take the rights decisions day to day whether that involves management issues on the coffee plantation, preservation of water sources, correct disposal of waste, or ensuring a good quality of life for our employees and their families who live here on the farm.

For me, you can’t put a fence around sustainability. We need to think bigger and to consider the impacts of what we do on our neighbours and our municipality and beyond. Whether that is providing services to our neighbourhood, analysing the river water coming out of our farm to make sure it is cleaner than when it came in or inviting school children here to learn about the environment.

How has UTZ certification benefited you?

In 2010 we became Rainforest Alliance certified and achieved UTZ certification in 2013. Becoming UTZ certified was a long-held ambition for us but it was hard to achieve because as a small-scale operation it was hard to cover the costs of two audits per year. Fortunately with the help of Volcafé, the coffee exporter, we were able to overcome this obstacle.

There have been many benefits to UTZ certification particularly in relation to food safety and traceability. We’ve also been able to improve our first aid training, implement better integrated pest management techniques and improve our record keeping in the field. UTZ certification brings credibility to what we do and gives consumers confidence in sustainably produced coffee.

What’s your ambition for the future?

The only way our planet can provide a good future for our children is if the sustainability movement gains scale. Just doing our part isn’t enough – we need to drop seeds of sustainability everywhere, and help create change on a much bigger scale.

Want to read more about what sustainable coffee means to Jefferson and the workers on his plantation? Have a look at his website!

Better coffee and life quality in Brazil: meet the farmers

A recent study carried out among UTZ certified coffee farmers and workers in Brazil showed the positive effects of UTZ certification in social, environmental and economic areas.  90% of farmers interviewed mentioned that the UTZ program had been beneficial to them and they would recommend UTZ certification to other farmers.

Farmers’ views:


Read the full report, find the Key findings and learnings in the Report in a Nutshell and download UTZ’s Response to the report.

Meet some of the farmers in the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo: