What will your cup of coffee look like in 2030? (By Scott Coles)

By Nestlé’s Coffee Business Executive Officer Scott Coles (www.Nestle.com) Africa Central and West

There is nothing quite like that first morning cup of coffee. It is a time for me to collect my thoughts before the day begins. However, we cannot take this daily occurrence for granted.

Without action, climatologists have warned, coffee farmers in Africa will lose their livelihoods. Therefore, if we wish to continue to enjoy that precious cup, we must ensure that our coffee is sourced in a sustainable manner.

Coffee cultivation in Africa

More than ten million farmers in thirty countries produce 12 percent of the world’s coffee. Côte d’Ivoire, the largest coffee producer in West Africa, has been experiencing a decline in production despite the anticipated rise in coffee demand.

Nestlé has been producing coffee in Côte d’Ivoire for over six decades, and we have witnessed the difficulties farmers face firsthand.

Increasing temperatures, drought, and flooding caused by climate change make coffee cultivation more difficult. Under this pressure, farmers have resorted to environmentally damaging practices like deforestation and are replacing old coffee trees with easier-to-grow crops.

The case for sustainable coffee agriculture and the shift to regenerative agriculture

It is still possible to halt this decline. During a recent farm visit in the village of Yobouekro, I witnessed firsthand the effects of climate change. I met Amani Ahou, a female coffee farmer who, until recently, intended to abandon her plantation due to the depressingly low yield from her aging trees.

Amani has received training from Nescafé agronomists in recent years. She has acquired knowledge of pruning methods, composting, and the significance of planting shade trees. She is currently more optimistic about the possibility of revitalizing her coffee farm. She stated, “My plantation has been revitalized, and my old trees are beginning to flower and produce excellent coffee.”

It was enlightening to witness firsthand how enhancing technical knowledge and fostering stronger partnerships between farmers and industry can have a significant and lasting impact on farmers like Amani.

These regenerative agricultural techniques are crucial to the future of coffee farming. They will increase biodiversity, improve soil health, restore water cycles, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers can create a favorable environment for bees, insects, and birds to thrive on their farms by planting more coffee trees and fostering greater biodiversity. This will have a positive effect on the ecosystem and mitigate climate change.

The transition to regenerative agriculture cannot be solely the responsibility and expense of farmers. Since the launch of the Nescafé plan ten years ago, we have collaborated closely with farmers to improve agricultural practices, sharing our global knowledge and expertise. Farmers will be able to support their families and contribute meaningfully to their communities if they are able to produce beans of a higher quality and receive higher prices as a result of the plan.

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