By providing weather data to farmers in East Africa and Central America, Climate Edge is helping to build their resilience to climate change and increase yields to keep up with global demand for coffee.
London, 8 January 2019 – Climate monitoring service Climate Edge has joined Business Call to Action with a commitment to quadruple its reach to 4000 smallholder coffee farmers in Nicaragua, Honduras, Tanzania and Uganda by 2022, increasing its networks’ smallholder farmer yield by up to 25 percent through frequent climate and weather alerts. Through the use of on-farm and remote climate monitoring, Climate Edge will also support the adaption to climate smart agriculture for 1000 smallholder coffee farmers in Nicaragua and Tanzania. Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In any given month, over 600,000 tonnes of coffee is exported from the tropics. Astonishingly, 80 percent of this is produced on smallholder farms of less than 10 hectares. In recent years, increasingly extreme and unpredictable climate patterns have devastated smallholder agriculture, which in turn affects the whole value chain. For example, temperature rises and increased humidity have resulted in fungus outbreaks which drastically diminished harvest sizes in Nicaragua, Honduras, Tanzania and Uganda.
At the same time, it is anticipated that by 2050, the demand for coffee will double, while the area of land suitable for coffee cultivation will halve. To help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change while keeping up with demand, Climate Edge is helping to provide to-the-minute weather information to farmers through cooperatives who belong to aggregated producer organisations, such as Fairtrade International, Hans R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and Sustainable Harvest. This will help reduce the risk to individual producers and to tap into existing networks and services that have been established by these organisations.
Through these networks, Climate Edge provides farmers with the key information needed to adapt to climate change. Its tropical agriculture specific weather stations (NEXOs) monitor conditions on-farm, which is analysed and turned into actionable climate smart adaptation information. A key difference in Climate Edge’s approach is its focus on monitoring on-farm data, rather than relying solely on remote-sensing approaches such as satellites. This means that it can gather nuanced information on the impact of different climate smart management approaches, and understand how best to apply them in a broader context. Climate Edge is using remote-sensing in a smarter way, to extrapolate results to reduce the overall implementation cost.
Climate Edge’s initial market consists of approximately 180,000 producers, aggregated into numerous cooperatives and organisations, to whom the company will to sell its agricultural weather stations and provide bespoke Climate Smart Adaptation services tailored to farmers’ needs. With more consistent and accurate weather information, farmers will become more resilient as they are able to prepare for shocks like pest plagues and extreme weather conditions, thus improving and increasing the consistency of quality and yield at harvests. Climate Edge estimates that such changes can result in a yield increase of up to 25 percent and loss prevention of up to 75 percent during extreme events, thus protecting revenues for farmers. Additional benefits include access to specialty markets, better input management, and more sustainable agricultural production depending on the regional and landscape context.
While Climate Edge is currently focusing its efforts on the coffee sector, its model is applicable across many different sectors, giving them the opportunity to grow their initiative and increase company profit, while at the same time benefitting those outside of this sector as well.
“We are beginning with higher value commodities from the tropics, such as coffee and tea, as this provides a more stable foundation to grow from. But our approach is designed to be easily adapted for all crops all over the world, eventually including subsistence crops as well,” said CEO James Alden. “As our data collection network grows on the ground, the data provides significant value to other sectors. Our climate data enables micro-insurers to refine the accuracy of payouts, our farm management data gives micro-financers the ability to identify reliable investments, and the two combined provide the necessary information needed to manage global supply chains sustainably.”
Head of Business Call to Action Paula Pelaez acknowledged the timely dual impact that Climate Edge’s initiative has both on improving the lives of low income earners while tackling climate change.
“Supporting smallholder farmers to adapt to climate change has never been more important than it is now. Not only will Climate Edge ensure more consistent incomes for the farmers it works with by making them more resilient to weather-induced shocks, but it is making a significant contribution to climate change by taking a grassroots adaptation approach,” said Ms Pelaez.
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BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org.
About Climate Edge: Climate Edge provides farmers with the information they need to adapt to climate change. Starting with coffee, Climate Edge’s tropical agriculture-specific weather stations (NEXOs) monitor conditions on-farm. Its analytical software then takes this data, analyses it and turns it into actionable climate smart adaptation information for smallholder farmers.
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