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 García 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