How coffee-growing countries like Kenya can unlock significant new green funding

By Standard Reporter | Friday, Sep 7th 2018 at 19:16
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A new guide highlights how Kenya and other coffee-producing countries in Africa and beyond can access significant new funding to boost their coffee sectors in the face of heightening challenges threatening the viability of the sector, chiefly among them climate change.

The guide published by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge (SCC) initiative highlights the new funding opportunities available at the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an international financial mechanism established to help tackle the most pressing environmental challenges facing the globe.

In its latest funding cycle (2018-2022) that started in July this year, GEF has included coffee on the list of commodities eligible for funding to help boost production and quality of the commodity in the face of a less favourable climate while avoiding environmental degradation.

The main coffee-producing nations in Africa that can benefit from the new funding include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Madagascar, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Guinea, Burundi and Togo among others. Globally, the top coffee producers are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Honduras and Ethiopia in that order.

“Actors from across the coffee sector need to drive investments to help ensure the continued sustainability of coffee production in light of the pressing challenges presented by climate change," said José Sette, Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization, a London-based intergovernmental organization that brings together nations that export and import coffee.

“The coffee sector needs to take full advantage of such new financing mechanisms and act swiftly to unlock green and climate finance by promoting practices, strategies and enablers for a climate resilient coffee supply chain and economy”.

Bambi Semroc, Vice-President for Sustainable Markets and Strategy at nature-protection non-profit Conservation International which co-founded the ‘Sustainable Coffee Challenge’, said the new funding opportunity is extremely timely for the global coffee sector, as nearly every major coffee-producing landscape is under unprecedented stress due to the impact of climate change.

“Rising temperatures, droughts and changing weather patterns are predicted to reduce the overall land suitable for growing coffee by 50%. As traditional growing areas decrease, farmers may look to plant coffee in protected locations situated in biodiversity hotspots, such as forested areas located higher up on mountainsides that are designated for conservation,” she said.

To create proposals, access GEF funding and manage projects, eligible countries have to select and work through GEF Implementing Agencies (IA) which are 18 in total. GEF agencies that are active in the coffee sector include: Conservation International, FAO, IFAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO and the World Bank.

GEF’s official call for “Expression of Interest (EOI)” is expected by end of September this year while the deadline for submissions of EOIs is by end of December this year. The GEF Secretariat and the Lead Agencies will evaluate and select an initial batch of submissions by January 2019 for consideration at the June 2019 GEF Council meeting.

An additional deadline or EOIs will be established during 2019 for countries that need more to express their interests, after which a second batch of qualified submissions will be presented for consideration at a subsequent Council meeting.

The process for the preparation of project concepts for the GEF-7 Replenishment cycle has already started. A number of GEF Implementing Agencies have already started scoping exercises and are working with governments to gain insights into priorities for coffee sector.

Both ICO and SCC said they will be developing further support guides on international financing opportunities to help drive investments in the coffee sector to address the global impact of climate change.

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