Less Risk, More Reward: Empowering Smallholder Coffee Farmers to Better Manage Risk
Smallholder coffee farmers operate in a world of risk. Rapidly changing prices, adverse weather, pests, and disease – alone or together, these shocks can quickly undo the promise of a successful coffee growing season and severely diminish smallholders’ incomes and food security.
How can smallholder coffee farmers better manage risk? Drawing from the experiences of Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program partners – Farm Africa/Root Capital, Neumann Gruppe GmbH, and Oikocredit – this webinar offers a global perspective on innovative risk-management initiatives that are enabling smallholders to reap more rewards and face less risk as they cultivate this high-value crop.
Panelists will share insights and lessons learned ranging from non-profit- and lender-driven specialized trainings that help coffee farmers manage volatile price fluctuations, to private sector businesses that deliver financing, inputs, and technical know-how into their supply chains to help farmers mitigate risk while contributing to a more sustainable coffee industry.
Join USAID’s Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program for a webinar on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 10:00 AM EST to discuss these issues. Introductory remarks will be given by USAID Market System Specialist Melissa Schweisguth about the Agency’s global coffee sector initiatives. An overview by Partnering for Innovation Program Director Laura Harwig will follow, highlighting how the program’s innovative partnerships are equipping smallholder coffee farmers to better manage and respond to risk. Representatives from program partners will then share perspectives and insights during a facilitated exchange. An audience question-and-answer session will conclude the webinar.
Director, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation
Laura Harwig is Director of Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a USAID-funded program implemented by Fintrac Inc., that builds partnerships with agribusinesses to help them commercialize new products and services for the benefit of smallholder farmers in emerging markets. Prior to joining Partnering for Innovation, she served as Fintrac Inc.’s Vice President of Field Activities and oversaw implementation of market systems and value chain development programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Market Systems Specialist, Bureau of Resilience and Food Security
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Melissa Schweisguth is a Market Systems Specialist at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. She delivers technical, analytical and capacity building support to advance inclusive market systems programming globally. This work engages private and public market actors, and communities, to drive positive and sustainable systemic change at scale. She has more than 16 years of experience across nonprofit, private and research environments. Prior to joining USAID, she was a technical director at a development implementer, and held leadership, program management and advisory roles in corporate social responsibility/sustainability, marketing and ethical trade in the food and agriculture sector, with a focus on cocoa, coffee, and consumer food products.
Deputy Head, Sustainable Business Unit
Neumann Gruppe GmbH
As Deputy Head of the Sustainable Business Unit, Carolin Ehrensperger supports Neumann Gruppe GmbH's export companies to connect closer to farmers and make coffee a profitable and sustainable business for smallholders despite challenges such as climate change. Prior to joining the company, she worked as consultant for social and environmental enterprises at SEED. Carolin holds degrees in economics and international affairs.
Director of Programme Quality
Nick Kempson leads the Programme Quality Unit at Farm Africa, which encompasses three teams: Technical Services; Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning; and Programme Support. The Programme Quality Team supports all Farm Africa projects across eastern Africa. His previous experience includes work as a NGO program director, consultant, and development economist for a range of clients including national and provincial governments, private foundations, the World Bank, and USAID, with a particular focus on the agricultural and mining sectors. Nick is based in Dar Es Salaam.
Financial Advisory Manager-East Africa
Charles Maina has extensive experience in commercial banking and enterprise development. Prior to joining Root Capital in October 2011, he served at Barclays Bank of Kenya as Business Customer Advisor and later as Agribusiness Relationship Manager at Equity Bank. Charles is currently leading multiple advisory projects at Root Capital, including training, capacity development, climate resilience, young talent partnership, SACCO development, and women initiative in agriculture.
Senior Social Performance and Capacity Building Officer
Yolirruth Núñez is Senior Social Performance and Capacity Building Officer at Oikocredit for Latin America. She is in charge of the design and implementation of programs for developing capacities of Oikocredit partners. Yolirruth is also a member of the Regional Advisory Committee, which assesses the risk, social, and environmental performance of Oikocredit partners.