Impact through policies and partnerships

N. Palmer (CIAT)

Climate-smart coffee and cocoa value chains on the rise

East Africa
West Africa
Latin America
Climate-Smart Technologies and Practices

The global coffee and cocoa industries rely heavily on the production of millions of smallholder farmers, for whom these tropical crops are primary source of income for farmers. They are also key foreign revenue generators for many economies. But cocoa and coffee are particularly sensitive to climate change and variability, so climate change is posing a threat to millions of farmers, to entire countries’ national economies of (such as Ghana), and to the global coffee, cocoa and chocolate industries.

To address this challenge, the CCAFS Climate-Smart Value Chain project assesses climate change exposure of coffee and cocoa systems and leverages existing smallholder value chain interventions to translate CCAFS science and site-specific climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices into actionable strategies, guidelines, trainings and tools for farmers, businesses and investors. Research and development activities ensure that the best climate-smart science informs farmers and that risks, costs and rewards are shared by everyone in the value chain – from farmers to consumers.

“The CCAFS initiative brings a lot of value to the work we are doing. They have shared with us the maps and we will make sure that the interesting outcomes are well-articulated in the document we are developing.” Yaw Kwakye, Forestry Commission of Ghana on developing a new 10-year policy for climate-smart cocoa.

In 2016, 3 new development and research initiatives were approved for a total of nearly 9 million dollars. USAID Feed the Future provided funding for two climate related initiatives on coffee and cocoa. The Climate-Smart Coffee Consortium – led by the Hanns R. Neumann Foundation and including CCAFS, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Conservation International, World Coffee Research, Root Capital and the Sustainable Food Lab – focuses on connecting global climate science with plot-level agronomic practices in Central America and East Africa. The Climate-Smart Cocoa Initiative – led by the World Cocoa Foundation and including ACDI-VOCA and private sector companies such as Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ecom Agrotrade, The Hershey Company, Lindt & Sprüngli, Mars, Inc., Nestlé, Olam International Ltd, and Touton – builds on CCAFS climate exposure mapping and private sector engagement work. Finally, the German government (BMZ) awarded International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and partners a large grant to deepen existing work under the Climate-Smart Value Chains project in both West African cocoa systems and East African coffee systems.

“As the CEO of a leading agribusiness, I have seen climate change rise up the risk register faster than I ever believed possible. And while large-scale farmers and processors such as ourselves are already putting CSA measures in place, it is the world’s millions of smallholders providing our daily coffee, cotton and chocolate fix that we have to reach, teach and support. We urge the agri industry and their customers to unite … to help scale the understanding and adoption of climate-smart practices by rural communities.” Sunny Verghese, CEO and co-founder of Olam.

The Climate-Smart Value Chain project has begun scaling up successful practices in the pilot countries of Ghana, Nicaragua and Peru in a partnership of CIAT, IITA, Rainforest Alliance, Root Capital, Sustainable Food Lab, and support from government, research and farmer organizations in producing countries, as well as development partners and donors.

In 2016, work was expanded from the three pilot countries to include seven additional countries (Côte d'Ivoire, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda), guided by earlier work on climate change impact on agriculture by CIAT-CCAFS. In Liberia and Uganda, for instance, IFAD relied on CIAT-CCAFS science and tools to design and implement cocoa value chain projects as part of their Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). In Côte d'Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producer, CIAT engages directly with stakeholders in the Ivorian cocoa supply chain to help the country become more climate smart.


  • International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  • Conservation International
  • Hanns R. Neumann Foundation
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Root Capital
  • Sustainable Food Lab
  • World Cocoa Foundation
  • World Coffee Research
  • Development partners: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ), German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ), United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Private sector: Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ecom Agrotrade, The Hershey Company, Lindt & Sprüngli, Mars, Inc., Nestlé, Olam International Ltd, Touton