Nescafé Plan’s evolutionary journey towards living income and regenerative agriculture in Indonesia

A close-up image of a small green plant with two leaves being carefully held by a person's dirt-covered hands, symbolizing nurturing and growth in fertile soil under the Nescafé Plan.
A close-up image of a small green plant with two leaves being carefully held by a person's dirt-covered hands, symbolizing nurturing and growth in fertile soil under the Nescafé Plan.

Sustainable Food Lab has been supporting Nescafé with its Plan 2030 pilot learning agenda, as well as its technical approach to living income analysis, since 2022. As a result of a 2023 visit to the Regenerative Resilient Pilot in Indonesia and review of year 1 data, Sustainable Food Lab has produced a full case study on the Lampung Pilot, which you can read here: “Nescafé Plan’s evolutionary journey towards living income and regenerative agriculture in Indonesia”.

The Nescafé Plan 2030 pilots rest on the idea that living income, regenerative agricultural practices and climate impact are all linked. The ability to earn a living income is an important outcome in and of itself as it enables farming household to invest in their families and communities.  In addition, farmers who can afford a decent standard of living and have access to a stable market are better able to invest in regenerative agriculture and protect the environment. This in turn provides a more sustainable future for farming and contributes to a healthier planet (and Nescafé’s environmental goals).

Nescafé’s theory behind the pilot is that if teams on the ground work with a group of farmers who have already been engaged in the Nescafé Plan and provide a stable market for them to sell their coffee, then farmers will engage in intensive training and with the help of cash incentives, will adopt regenerative practices that support better productivity, efficiency and climate resilience. If they are also supported to diversify their crops and income streams and hone their financial decision-making skills, they will build economic resilience. Then, with these levers in place, farmers will improve net household incomes and enter into a virtuous cycle where they continue to make their own farm investments that optimize yield and income and continue to increase their income toward a living income.

Importantly, farmer training and resource components are underpinned by 1) Nestlé / Nescafé’s corporate commitments to living income, regenerative agriculture and Net Zero Roadmap, 2) local engagement with the on-the-ground Nescafé team, partners, infrastructure and commercial relationship, 3) supply chain structure that embeds training and adoption of practices into the core business engagement with farmers,  and 4) continuous sourcing engagement where increased coffee production from 4C certified grower groups, that also meet regenerative agriculture goals,  fulfills Nestlé’s sourcing needs and commitments year after year.

Despite the effects of a drought affecting all farmers in the region, early results are promising for pilot farmers, particularly in terms of adoption of key regenerative practices and a narrower drop in net income from coffee in reaction to the drought as compared to non-pilot farmers.  

We were not anticipating seeing a program-related narrowing of the gap to a living income benchmark.  And with the drought affecting all farmers, the household income changes we saw across the board were negative.  However, most important at this point is that Nescafé understands that this is a sourcing area where farmers face challenges with coffee and other income sources, and that to make headway they’ll need to stay dedicated to the region and continue providing support through their on the ground team and enhanced Regenerative Resilient programming to address key challenges. They will continuously measure living income and share results in a transparent way for learning across pilots, across Nestlé and across the sector.

Note, the Living Income Benchmark for the area is not officially published yet, but it is in its final form.  For that reason, it does not appear in the full case study.  However, living income results were discussed at the Nescafé Plan May 13th, 2024 webinar and more information from Nescafé will be forthcoming as part of their yearly progress reports. 

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