Joining forces: Helping coffee farmers with the transition

Our Tchibo Joint Forces!® quali­fi­cation programme pools forces where they are most needed: among the small­holders on the ground. Their resources are frequently limited and they lack the necessary know-how for profitable and sustainable coffee farming. With the support of competent partner organ­i­sa­tions Tchibo Joint Forces!® helps coffee farmers increase their produc­tivity and income in an environ­men­tally friendly and socially acceptable way. The programme’s flexible modules specif­i­cally focus on the individual needs of coffee farmers, their families and local commu­nities.

Small­holders need customised, pragmatic solutions that will quickly help them operate more success­fully in their particular situation. That is why in 2012 we launched our Tchibo Joint Forces!® quali­fi­cation programme. It picks up exactly where the small­holders are starting out and is now estab­lished in several countries from where we source our raw coffee. Tchibo Joint Forces!® uses tailored training courses to help farmers and cooper­a­tives on the ground be more enter­prising, improve the profitability of their businesses and increase their sales oppor­tu­nities. At the same time they convey the necessary know-how to address environ­mental and social challenges. As a result our programme usefully supple­ments certi­fi­cation or validation according to recog­nised standards.

Tchibo Joint Forces!® involves many partners in its work. These include agricul­tural scien­tists, coaches, exporters, traders, inter­na­tionally recog­nised standards organ­i­sa­tions and, if necessary, govern­mental and nongovern­mental organ­i­sa­tions. Our Tchibo coffee experts support the work of the projects and monitor the imple­men­tation of the measures locally.

Tailor-made, practical solutions for small­holders

Thanks to its modular design, the Tchibo Joint Forces!® quali­fi­cation programme can cater precisely for the needs of farmers. The first three modules commu­nicate knowledge and methods of good agricul­tural practices (GAP), which small­holders can use to increase the yields and quality of their green coffee and to do business more success­fully. The farmers are usually supported over several years in this process. The subse­quent fourth module helps them individ­ually to meet the standard organ­i­sa­tions’ minimum require­ments.

In 2014, we extended the Tchibo Joint Forces!® offer to include a fifth module called ‘Local community involvement.’ It builds on the educa­tional projects we have been running since 2009 to strengthen social commu­nities in the growing regions. The aim is to develop the social struc­tures in the environment of the coffee farms and improve the living condi­tions of the families.

Module 1 “Sustainable Yield Increase”
Module 1 gives coffee farmers extensive training in good agricul­tural practices, in hopes of putting them in a position to sustainably increase their produc­tivity and yields. In addition to the training, soil and coffee plants can be analysed as needed and seedlings planted that are more resistant to diseases and pests, e.g..

Module 2 “Cost Control”
Module 2 teaches the basics of doing business. The idea is to famil­iarise farmers with the key elements of entrepreneurship, as small­holders are also entrepreneurs. Lessons include accounting for income and expen­diture and elemental business know-how.

Module 3 “Product Quality Consis­tency”
Module 3 teaches techniques for processing harvested coffee cherries that ensure consis­tently high product quality. Among other things, partic­i­pants learn how to use simple devices to process raw beans, e.g. to remove the beans from the coffee cherries.

Module 4 “Certi­fi­cation/Verifi­cation”

Module 4 serves to build awareness and under­standing of the environ­mental and social require­ments promoted by the standards organ­i­sa­tions and therefore plays a central role: coffee farmers who success­fully complete it receive certi­fi­cation according to the require­ments of the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade or UTZ Certified or 4C validation. This results in better marketing oppor­tu­nities for the coffee farmers because they can fetch higher prices for green coffee that is proven to have been respon­sibly produced. Tchibo then offers them a long-term collab­o­ration that includes purchasing sustainable green coffee.

Module 5 “Local Community Engagement”
Module 5 is aimed at the coffee farmers’ commu­nities and families. Depending on local needs youth training & education or childcare centres are provided. The “Coffee Farming as a Family Business” component is designed to encourage families to view their farm as a shared economic unit. The coffee farmers and their wives are equally involved and young people are inter­ested in coffee growing at an early age to prevent the dispro­por­tionate ratio of older people in coffee culti­vation. Another optional module imparts knowledge on adapting to climate change.

Tchibo Joint Forces!® programme continues to grow

Between early 2012 and the end of 2014 we launched Tchibo Joint Forces!® projects in Honduras, Kenya, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Vietnam. Around 30,000 coffee farmers have completed the programme to date and obtained certi­fi­cation according to the require­ments of the inter­na­tionally recog­nised standard organ­i­sa­tions – Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified – or validation according to the 4C baseline standards. We will continue the Tchibo Joint Forces!® projects in the years ahead, involving more and more farmers in the training. We are currently reviewing the feasi­bility of two other projects in Brazil and Guatemala.

Tchibo Joint Forces!®
qualification programm