Nestle Zimbabwe is incentivizing farmers in Honde Valley to take up coffee farming, following the firming of the crop’s price on the international market.
By Hillary Munedzi
With uncertainty stemming from coffee exporting countries such as Ethiopia, which is in the middle of a civil war, and Brazil experiencing adverse weather challenges caused by climate change, coffee prices are rising in what could be a major boost for Zimbabwe.
Speaking from Nestle headquarters in Switzerland, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs officer, Kathrine Graham said the volatile situation has led to high prices hence their move to incentivize farmers to take up coffee farming.
“The current trend of high coffee prices doesn’t change much in our approach. We remain focused on the strategy that we have employed since the beginning in Zimbabwe; working in partnership with farmers, providing technical assistance to help them grow high-quality sustainable coffee and rewarding them for their commitment through the Nespresso AAA price premium.
“As you can see, and I’m sure the farmers in the Nespresso AAA Program will testify, that Nestle provides a good incentive to increase yields and motivates others to join the program,” said Kathrine Graham.
Honde Valley has not been spared from the effects of climate change and Nestle through the Nespresso AAA Programme is working to ensure continued supply of high quality coffee, while improving livelihood of farmers and their communities and protecting the environment.
“The current trends illustrate an important point, though. It’s another reminder that coffee farmers in particular are at the mercy of factors far beyond their control – a volatile global market and weather shocks resulting from climate change.
“It’s why the Nespresso AAA Program focuses on empowering farmers to build resilience, both financial and environmental, to insulate them and their communities as much as possible against future uncertainties,” she added.
Through this programme, Nestle is also providing technical assistance to farmers to reduce the effects of climate change.
“One of the best ways to fight against the impact of climate change is planting trees. They help to protect the land against shocks like cyclones or heavy rains, while also improving soil health and regulating temperatures close to the ground – which also improves the quality of the coffee.
“Within the AAA Program, we distribute trees to farmers and in 2020, we distributed close to 3000 trees in Zimbabwe, she said.
She added that she expects prices to remain high and volatile looking ahead.
“On prices, we would not speculate, but again, it highlights the volatility of the market and underscores why it is important to focus on building resilience,” she said.