Olam Coffee, a unit of Olam Food Ingredients (OFI), has partnered with TechnoServe, an international non-profit entity, to conduct a training programme designed to improve coffee quality and the livelihoods of farmers in Guatemala.

The programme is part of the Maximising Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) project, a five-year initiative funded by the US Department of Agriculture and implemented by a consortium led by TechnoServe.

Olam stated that as many as 4,000 smallholder farmers in the Huehuetenango region will benefit from technical training and resources.

Eighteen field staff from both the organisations will work together with the farmers.

Training will include on agriculture practices, farm renovation, waste-water management and post-harvest techniques.

Olam noted that higher yields and better-quality standards will unlock opportunities for farmers to achieve premiums from certification and speciality markets while reducing their production costs.

The programme will also achieve the goals of Olam Coffee’s new sustainability strategy Coffee LENS, which aims to boost coffee production for 200,000 households by 2025.

During the harvest period, farmers will be trained to connect directly to markets to sell their beans.

By registering on Olam Direct, a digital buying platform and daily market price information provider, farmers will be able to do business directly with Olam.

The platform serves as a traceability tool and captures data on the programme’s activities that will feed into AtSource, which is Olam’s sustainability insights platform and will be used to track and monitor the progress.

Olam Coffee Guatemala country head and VP Nikhil Chandan said: “We work with 650 farmers in Guatemala through existing sustainability programmes, but we rely on collaboration to scale up our impact. This partnership is a really exciting opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the livelihoods of these 4,000 farmers and their families by enabling them to increase their yields by 30% by 2022.”

MOCCA director Ryan Bathrick said: “Through the coffee growers’ hard work, and by leveraging a model that provides training and access to services that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, farmers are able to access higher-value markets. This improves living conditions for producers and their families in a lasting way.”