Brazil: Promoting sustainable farming

‘The Brazilian coffee sector is made up of millions of small-scale farmers and farm workers doing their best to grow coffee despite the low commodity prices. Consumers can support these people by choosing coffee from sustainable farms.’

Cassio Franco Moreira, Tchibo Project Manager, Brazil

Project aim and activities

Promoting more eco-friendly farming

We have implemented concrete measures to help raise awareness about the benefits of environmentally friendly coffee production. As a member of the Collective Action Initiative of the Global Coffee Platform, we support the reduced use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides and help ensure that farmers are given appropriate protective clothing and receive training on how to handle chemicals. Unfortunately, this is still not standard practice. To date, 1,000 farmers have benefited from this training. Unfortunately, our activities had to be drastically scaled back in 2020 due to COVID-19; any training that could be done without face-to-face contact was kept in place.

Working together to achieve more

The first step we want to take is to establish a network of 1,400 farmers in close cooperation with our suppliers in order to identify good examples of sustainable farming and share this knowledge with other farmers. This must always be balanced against household income, of course, otherwise there would be no incentive for farmers to move towards more sustainable farming.
The emphasis is on protecting ecosystems, increasing biodiversity in the growing region and improving soil health and water quality. Biodiversity – that is, the richness of species and ecosystems – and their protection through sustainable farming methods, play a pivotal role because intact ecosystems also have a positive effect on coffee trees. For example, they enhance the coffee plants' natural resistance to disease and the effects of climate change. What’s more, healthy and fertile soil has a positive impact not just on the yield of the coffee trees, but also on the taste of the coffee.

Safeguarding biodiversity is the highest priority

According to Cassio Moreira, it’s a clear-cut issue: ‘Biodiversity and organic farming – these are fundamental elements of sustainability. It’s such a shame to see how little room there is for these principles in today’s market economy.’
Cassio is Tchibo’s representative in Brazil and helps coordinate our sustainability initiatives there. But above all, Cassio himself is a passionate coffee farmer – and the proud owner of a certified organic farm in the green highlands of Sul de Minas.