Helping coffee farmers obtain better yields

The coffee market is a global business with many stakeholders, characterized by volatility and uncertainty. Today, one of the main challenges the coffee sector faces is profitability due to low productivity of smallholder farmers and coffee quality is under threat.

Coffee price fluctuations make profits hard to come by, particularly for smallholders, offering these farmers little motivation to invest in their coffee farms, closing the door for future generations of coffee farmers.

At the same time, the world is drinking more coffee, and demand is expected to continue to exceed supply. World consumption for 2019/2020 is estimated at more than 166 million bags (9,60 million tons), while forecasts predict it will increase to close to 200 million bags (12 million tons) by 2025. This happens as the impact of climate change grows exponentially, posing an ever-increasing challenge to coffee production.

Joao Moraes picture
Joao Moraes
Global Account Director

To learn more about our food chain partnerships in the coffee sector, please send me an e-mail.

While the coffee industry works to move farmers from subsistence to business, the focus shall remain on profit and sustainability, hand in hand with a protected environment.

We think it is possible. Watch the video below to see how we are committed to sharing our knowledge. 

Sustainable fertilizer management

Coffee production is labor intensive. Coffee trees need pruning, fertilization, weeding, crop protection, irrigation - in some countries - and many hands to collect the berries. It’s becoming more difficult to find people willing to do this hard, low-paid work.

At the same time, if nutrients taken from the soil during the harvesting process are not efficiently replaced, problems such as soil depletion and acidification will happen. If soil becomes unsuitable, then there is a high probability that farmers move elsewhere, cut down the forests and start again with the same practices, leading to deforestation.

With 26 long term strategic research trials and over 350 demo plots in both Arabica and Robusta coffees, Yara has proven consistent 10 – 15% yield increase and quality improvements by using our coffee nutrition management compared to common practices in the main coffee-producing countries.

Our trials also demonstrate lower carbon footprint and emissions per kg of coffee produced. All these factors are important drivers for value for specialty coffee farmers.

Yara is present in countries responsible for more than 90% of the global coffee production. Through knowledge sharing and training, we introduce sustainable fertilizer management. In Vietnam, the focus is on increasing resource efficiency and helping coffee farmers produce more from less, while in Tanzania we show farmers the connection between the use of fertilizer and crop yield.

Read what our customers from Vietnam and Tanzania have to say:

Tran Quoc Phong picture

Tran Quoc Phong makes a living from growing Robusta coffee in the Chu Se district of Gia Lai province, Vietnam.

“Using Yara’s program, I have increased my yield by 0.39 tons per hectare to 5.63, compared to traditional practices” 

His bushes are stronger, with more branches and leaves, and less cherry drop. And the result is paying off: “Profits have increased 15,892,000 vnd/ha (more than 700 USD per ha) compared to our traditional practices.” 

Coffee farmer Tanzania

Immanuel Mhopaje grows coffee on his 1.6-hectare farm in the district of Mbozi, Tanzania. He noticed considerable improvements in flower, fruit development and ripening after using Yara’s crop nutrition solutions and application knowledge. 

“I have built a three-bedroom house, and I can afford to send my four children to school.”

“The coffee cherries are now properly developed. It means better harvesting with less waste of fruits,” he explains. “I have increased my yields by 1.57 tons/ha compared with old farming practices.” Higher yields and productivity have increased his household income and improved Mhopaje’s livelihood. 

Developing a sustainable coffee sector

The whole food chain, from Yara to the consumer, contributes to developing a sustainable coffee sector – economically, environmentally and socially.

Through its direct interaction with farmers in coffee-producing countries, Yara can play an essential role in solving the sustainability equation by empowering farmers through knowledge and better solutions to grow the best quality bean.

A balanced coffee nutrition program along with the proper form of nitrogen fertilizers – at the right time and right dosage – can help:

  • Coffee farmers improve productivity and increase yields and profits
  • Enhance the quality of coffee beans, meeting the taste demands of discerning consumers
  • Reduce soil acidity and soil depletion
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of a cup of coffee
  • Improve the efficiency of water use
  • Improve resilience to a changing climate

Yara’s global knowledge helps us adapt tools to local conditions, making sure farmers everywhere have the best opportunity to succeed.