Results » Testimonials: Sandra Spies

Sandra Spies

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

“Climate changes, droughts, and changes in temperature greatly affect the sustainability of coffee.”

In what way has the Coffee NAMA helped participating coffee mills and farmers so far?
We have had in interesting dynamic in 2016 and 2017 with our coffee mills. I believe that for many of them the measurement of their greenhouse gas emission inventories has been an interesting, albeit sometimes complicated task. But I do think this has helped them greatly to create order internally and really visualize the resources they use in their processes. It has helped create transparency in what is happening at the mill level. And the workshops and the exchange of experiences with other mills have helped show how everybody else is doing with the same tasks.

Some of our coffee mills received trainings on strengthening sales capacities, which a smaller group practiced and applied during a trip to Germany. Several of our mills have sold their coffee thanks to the support of the project and thanks to the very good coffee that is being produced.

In 2017 we also worked closely with coffee producers, which has been an interesting task. In our workshops we introduced the concepts of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) with new training tools, such as active learning methods, and with a strong involvement of the sector´s different actors. This way of working hand in hand has allowed us to cover certain issues differently from before. New GAPs have been introduced, including the topic of climate change. We have tried to broaden the vision and give producers information about climate change and what it means for them. One the one hand we informed them on how to deal with climate change, on the other hand we try to help them understand how they themselves generate greenhouse gas emissions. The objective is to explain what all this has to do with them.

In your opinion – what are the main mitigation actions currently being implemented in the coffee sector?
There are initiatives on the subject of coffee waste treatment and also on the topics of energy and infrastructure modernization. Additionally, we are planning on developing an app in 2018 that will give us more information and more transparency on what the producers are actually applying on their farms from what they learned in the workshops.

In what way does your institution support the Coffee NAMA?
My institution is the Agency for International Cooperation GIZ. Our objective is to carry out the NAMA Support Project in cooperation with our counterparts. With the NAMA Support Project we aim to move the Coffee NAMA forward.

In the past year we have strengthened the communication work with concrete activities, there are more people who know about coffee now that they have received informative material. This was partially achieved during the workshops, but also in big events such as the Ministry for Environment´s Feria del Ambiente in June 2017 and the Expo Feria Alemana in August 2017. Our webseite was also launched in 2017.

We have accompanied a process of defining the Coffee NAMA and developing its framework and a clear concept that other countries will be able to use as a reference. We have also worked hard with producers, training over 3,000 in our workshops during 2017.

We have also continued to collaborate with coffee mills. The international coffee fair Sintercafé was an important event for us to communicate the work we and all the other institutions do in the Coffee NAMA. Our commercial trip to Germany was another important part of 2017.

A short while ago the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE) celebrated inauguration of a new building and almost all of the different important actors there mentioned the Coffee NAMA in some form or another – meaning that the topic has reached the Costa Rican public. Maybe it is not completely clear what a NAMA is, but people are aware that there is an initiative working on climate change and coffee.

Something else worth mentioning are the long queues of people at the Conference of the Parties (COP) in November 2017 in Bonn, Germany, where over 150 kg of NAMA coffee was prepared and we managed to promote this low carbon product from Costa Rica internationally.

How is your institution planning to support the Coffee NAMA in the future?
We will continue our work for almost two more years. We will work hard on the credit line that was only recently formalized with the signing of an agreement between the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and GIZ.

Something that has been developing slowly are public private partnerships. There has been a lot of interest in the Coffee NAMA and several important players have approached us wanting to learn these processes. A triangular cooperation is currently being considered in order for Costa Rica to exchange its experiences with the region. This is something that could be carried out with the Regional Cooperation Programa for Technical Development and Coffee Modernization in Central America, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica (PROMECAFÉ). Private companies from the sector such as exporters and agricultural suppliers have expressed their interest in the activities of the Coffee NAMA.

Finally, in 2018 we will focus on working with producers, continuing our work with coffee mills, but also put a lot of energy in the topic of investments in low carbon technologies at the level of coffee mills.

“The biggest challenge is the issue of transportation, but also to be successful in applying carbon neutrality as a plus to products and services of Costa Rica outside its borders.”