The paradoxes of climate-smart coffee (PACSMAC)


Start date: 1 April, 2021 End date: 31 March, 2026 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 20-07-CBS Countries: Ethiopia Tanzania Thematic areas: Agricultural production, Climate change, Economic development and value chains, Lead institution: Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark Partner institutions: University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania Jimma University (JU), Ethiopia Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Kristjan Jespersen Total grant: 11,984,425 DKK

Project summary

Coffee, especially the valuable Arabica cultivar, is vulnerable to climate change. Warmer and wetter weather and spreading fungal disease have encouraged farmers to experiment with a variety of strategies, including shifting uphill, shade growing, new irrigation techniques, crop switching and transitioning to new hybrid varieties. Meanwhile, governments and large coffee firms have been exploring ways to support climate-smart production innovations to preserve their lucrative supply bases. Focused on Ethiopia and Tanzania, The paradoxes of climate-smart coffee (PACSMAC) project will investigate how climate change - and the ways actors across the value chain are trying to adapt to or mitigate it - affect coffee farmers’ livelihoods and land-use decisions. While observers often describe emerging coffee production experiments and the market opportunities they generate as resilient, vibrant and environmentally beneficial, these assessments are preliminary and speculative. In fact, the opportunities and incentives for growers to adopt and benefit from any of these innovations will depend on what downstream firms and even consumers do. Conversely, firm strategies will depend on how producers respond to changes in prices, demand, climate, and support programs.
PACSMAC will illuminate the connection between smallholders’ opportunities to innovate to improve their livelihoods and firms’ and governments’ efforts to build and profit from global value chains. The project will combine in-depth qualitative research using participant observation and expert interviews of downstream coffee firms with focus group, interview, survey and satellite data in selected villages in coffee-growing regions in the two countries. Combining these valuable data sources will allow us to develop scenarios of future coffee value chain development in the two countries that connect farmers’, states’ and firms’ actions with livelihood and land-cover impacts.


First year report:
The PACSMAC team would like to showcase the progress and status of the process. In doing so, we have broken down our assessment by summarising the key outcomes from the different work workpackages.

WP1 is experiencing good progress in line with the project aims and expectations. We have finished our work on mapping the global landscape of climate-change related interventions targeting coffee farmers and are on track to produce a first manuscript analyzing these interventions by the end of August of this year. We have further conducted preliminary fieldwork in Tanzania and are preparing for equivalent data collection in Ethiopia, and the PhD students are finalizing their thesis proposals.
The Usa River retreat was fundamentally important in aligning the team regarding research questions, objective, methods, and to agree on a common timeline for the next years. In-person teambuilding further improved within-team communication and trust.

WP2 members have identified key literature on the state of the art in detecting coffee cultivation locations using remote sensing. They have conducted qualitative analysis of these materials and are now working on producing a review manuscript. In addition, the Ph.D. students in the work package have made substantial progress on their proposals for their Ph.D. theses, which will inform site selection and survey design choices.

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