Coffee and Cocoa Companies Plan for Climate Change Impacts

As multinational companies grow more sophisticated in understanding their supply chains, the research community is also getting better at modeling and predicting future weather patterns, diseases, water availability and other climate change impacts. The question is, how well are these sectors supporting and feeding each other?

Is the science on shifting crop suitability reaching the decision makers in the private sector? Are companies aware of what types of questions researchers can answer for them? Are researchers aware of the questions decision makers in these companies need answers to? And what does it take to design and implement production and procurement strategies that take climate adaptation, mitigation, and productivity into account?

In a project launched earlier this year titled, Mainstreaming Climate Smart Value Chains,Sustainable Food Lab, Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Rainforest Alliance, and Root Capital have teamed up to start answering these questions, leveraging state-of-the art climate science for the benefit of cocoa and coffee farmers and supply chains actors in Ghana, Peru and Nicaragua.

The project has already unearthed strong private sector interest in the research findings around future climate suitability for crops and the value of pre-competitively sharing strategies for building climate resilience into cocoa and coffee supply chains.

In May 2015, the project team facilitated a stakeholder workshop in Ghana. Among the more than 70 participants were government actors from key institutions such as the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Forestry Commission, NGOs such as World Cocoa Foundation and ForesTrends as well as private sector representatives including Barry Callebaut, Mars Inc., Nestlé, Mondelēz, OLAM, Cargill, and several Ghanaian owned Licensed Buying Companies, (Kuapa Kokoo Ltd., Cocoa Merchants Ltd. and Diaby Ltd.).

The workshop process clarified critical barriers to scaling climate smart agricultural practices across the country. The process also clarified how the project’s science resources—including exposure gradient mapping and climate smart agriculture practice guides—could be useful to key decision makers in different organizations.

The exposure maps provided by the researchers have created insight on the projected scale and nature of the impact of climate change for the different cocoa growing regions of the country.

Suitability change for cocoa production by 2050 within cocoa-growing regions of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire; red and orange indicate high and moderate suitability losses, yellow areas will remain unaffected and green areas will become suitable (Läderach et al. 2013).

The work continues with local experts collaborating with the project scientists to refine their models and take into account local soil characteristics. The in-country teams of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and Rainforest Alliance have spent a week with scientists at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana analyzing how soil data can be best represented in the exposure maps. This work will be followed by stakeholder consultations with key organizations linking to upcoming learning workshops in the different crop exposure gradients of the country to identify site-specific adaptation practices.

A kick-off workshop for the coffee and cocoa sectors of Peru was co-hosted by CIAT, Root Capital, Rainforest Alliance and the Food Lab in partnership with the SCAN Network on November 18 in Lima, Peru. Partners shared learning and opportunities for better and more impactful use of ever-improving climate science tools.

For more information, contact Stephanie Daniels.

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