Tuesday, April 14, 2015

16. Positive Impact Assessment for UTZ Certification in Colombia

April 14, 2015
The Centre for Regional Entrepreneurial and Coffee Studies (CRECE) in Colombia just published a study that shows that Colombian coffee farmers working to UTZ Certified standards coped better during a period of adverse conditions from 2008 – 2011.

The research compared the situations of 278 UTZ farms and 579 non-certified farms in Colombia. At the time of the study the coffee sector was experiencing unfavourable weather patterns, an infestation of Coffee Berry Borer and an outbreak of coffee rust, combined with high fertilizer prices.

CRECE found that non-certified farmers experienced a drop in yields of 52 per cent over the four years, while UTZ farmers maintained their yields and increased their incomes. The study found that by 2011 UTZ farmers’ net income was 65 per cent higher than those who were not part of the program.

From Global Coffee Report:
“Impact evaluations of sustainability standards remain limited, therefore we hope that this research can contribute to the worldwide debate on their impact,” Carlos Ariel GarcĂ­a Romero, who directed the research at CRECE, said in a statement. “The research shows that the scope of UTZ’s sustainability standard is multi-dimensional, impacting social, environmental and economic conditions.”

UTZ said the research also highlighted some challenges it needed to address to further improve the positive impact of its work in Colombia. This included supporting smallholders, maintaining training levels and ensuring best practice is followed for written contracts as its priorities. UTZ said it had already taken steps to address several of these issues.

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