Sodexo and the Fairtrade Foundation – working to support coffee growers

Better Tomorrow 2025 is our corporate responsibility roadmap and provides the foundations for managing our business responsibly. The roadmap identifies three focus areas, waste reduction, hunger eradication and gender equality. Our coffee growers fund is one of the ways in which we are pursuing gender equality in the communities from which we source our coffee. Here we explain a little more about the aims of the project.  

Sodexo and the Fairtrade Foundation are working together to improve food security of women and coffee producers’ families with a two-year project in Peru where Sodexo sources the beans for its Aspretto coffee brand, which is triple-certified; (Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Soil Association).

Growing coffee in Peru is hard, physical work. Climate change is causing environmental changes including the emergence of new diseases, such as ‘La Roya’ or leaf rust, which affects 80% of farms and can result in farmers losing up to 50% of their crop.

Thousands of coffee producers also face the challenge of food security. During the months with no coffee harvest, producers do not have a stable income and purchasing food can be difficult, at this time they may also seek quick-fixes such as picking coffee cherries too early, resulting in a lower quality bean.

There is also a lack of technical knowledge within farmers often struggling to effectively present their coffee to secure the highest possible price.

The Fairtrade Foundation has worked with CLAC, Fairtrade’s network of producers in Central and Latin America, to incorporate a range of approaches to address the most relevant issues and support the cooperative members through training, improved quality and diversifying their income through the production of new food products. The project provides support in four areas:

Creation of kitchen gardens

To increase the nutritional level of the women and their families 25 50m2 gardens have been installed to provide produce for household consumption, and any surplus providing additional income if sold at local markets. Crops with a short-term production cycle, such as lettuce, cabbage and cucumber are planted alongside native species such as papaya, native tomato, corn and cocono.

Hen houses

In the first year, 25 hen houses, each with ten hens, will be installed providing the families with eggs and meat, and any surplus to sell at the local market. The number of hens per house will increase to 20 hens over the term of the project.

Installation of solar dryer

25 solar coffee dryers will be installed to help improve the productivity and quality of the coffee in the post-harvest processing. This will help these small-scale farmers increase the yield of coffee from 1.4 tonnes per hectare to 2 tonnes over the two-year project term and improve the cup quality under SCAA classification. This will allow farmers to improve the prices, and increase the family income.

Technical training

A training programme with workshops and advisory services will be put in place to support the women with bi-monthly theoretical and practical workshops covering technical topics associated with organic production, raising small animals and improving the drying process. Additional workshops will focus on the management and quality of coffee production and guidance on formulating a business plan.

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