Since 2014, regenerating coffee ecosystems in Sidama zone through integrated activities including agroforestry has been the shared mission of Louis Dreyfus Company, the Louis Dreyfus Foundation and PUR Projet, a social business working with companies and communities to regenerate ecosystems they depend upon.
Making coffee production sustainable is key in this region where coffee accounts for 90 to 100% of household incomes. Thus, the project aims to increase coffee farmers’ resilience to climate change through the regeneration of ecosystems, the adoption of good agricultural practices and the empowerment of coffee communities. It was designed in collaboration with the communities and includes an integrated set of activities to meet this objective: agroforestry, training sessions on good agricultural practices for coffee and the implementation of improved cookstoves.
Agroforestry consists of planting trees for shade within and around coffee plots to protect crops from the sun, diversify farmers’ revenues and provide many other positives for the ecosystem, such as adaptation to and mitigation of climate change and droughts, reducing erosion, retaining water and preserving soils. Assisted by technical experts, farmers rapidly took ownership of the program: they chose and planted native and fruit trees and cared for them to maintain them alive.
Training sessions on good agricultural practices, including training on agroforestry, contribute to regenerating coffee ecosystems and to maintaining coffee yields and quality. Finally, the use of improved cookstoves helps fight against deforestation in the region, saving around 50% of the fuelwood used for daily cooking and thereby reducing emissions. It also reduces women’s workload related to cooking, allowing them to take advantage of other project activities.
Building on this success in Ethiopia, the project was extended to Uganda in 2018. Located in the Rwenzori region, the project also includes agroforestry, training sessions on good agricultural practices as well as improved cookstoves. In addition to this, in 2020, interactive theatre plays will be performed within the communities to raise awareness of best practices, support the scaling up of activities and help empower the communities.
“Programs like this one multiply positive outcomes relating to soil, water, biodiversity, farmer revenue and coffee quality. The social capital gained enables households to avoid food insecurity during more difficult seasons, which keeps the community healthy. We expect the project to benefit more than 10,000 people, and to have 529,000 trees planted by 2021, in both countries combined,” said Rozenn Kerviel, Global Sustainability Manager for Coffee at LDC.