Sustainability is promising when your partners buy in!

Story: Wannipa Soda, Government Liaison and Coffee Productivity Manager, Coffee+ Project Thailand

The measures, knowledge and tools developed and implemented by the Coffee+ project have been sustained by enabling partners and farmers from various government and non-government sectors to deliver the mutual goal. The mechanisms include institutionalization, collaboration, and capacity development.

Improving smallholder coffee farming systems in Southeast Asia (Coffee+ Project) is a regional public–private partnership project (DeveloPPP) implemented through a strategic alliance between GIZ and Nestlé in the three countries, namely Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. The project aims to improve the economic viability of 10,500 smallholder coffee farmers in the three countries – Indonesia (7,000), Philippines (1,500) and Thailand (2,000) – through good farm management practices that are economic, environmentally friendly, valid and practicable.

To achieve this, the project’s approaches, measures, tools and knowledge are implemented through institutionalization, collaboration and partnerships with national and local government and private agencies. They include:

  • The Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE), the Department of Agriculture (DOA), Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC): provided recommendations for the revision of the Thai national coffee strategy, supported and implemented a national coffee policy, facilitated development of the Chumphon Robusta Coffee Roadmap, and supported the setting up of a working group/taskforce to foster the implementation of the Roadmap.
  • The Faculty of Agricultural Economics, Prince of Songkhla University (PSU): conducted Farmer Business School (FBS) training both onsite and through online courses for farmers, officers of DoAE and practitioners.
  • Chumphon College of Agriculture and Technology: developed a short course (36 hours) titled Coffee Farmer Business School and established a demonstration plot on the coffee intercropping model.

In addition, the project facilitated and enhanced the capacity of individual farmers, strengthened farmer groups, and held policy and stakeholder dialogues mobilizing various tools and means. These include capacity building on Farmer Business School (FBS) for trainers (Training of Trainers -TOT), farmer (Training-of Farmers – TOF) and farmer groups.

To ensure sustainable utilization of knowledge products, the project equipped the practitioners in relevant government agencies and the private sector, particularly the lead mandated agencies, DOAE and DOA, with knowledge and skills. The FBS course is also provided to relevant staff at PSU, Agricultural colleges, the Thai Coffee Association, and the young smart farmer group. All the project’s achievements have been recognised: FBS training modules/materials are accepted by DOAE and DOA which are the lead mandated government agencies in providing agricultural services to farmers in the country.

Furthermore, the implementation of the Coffee+ project created a learning space and demonstrated the translation of policies into concrete actions and the implementation of workplans at the national and local/provincial levels. The Coffee+ project supported the implementation of the National Coffee Strategy, and the national development plan at the national and local/provincial level. In terms of policy implementation, the project worked with the Provincial Offices by supporting grassroots economic development on agricultural issues related to the Robusta coffee crop.

To facilitate the process and support partners and stakeholders, the project also developed knowledge products, tools, resources and materials, namely:

  • Trainers’ Guidebook on Farmer Business School (FBS),
  • Training Workbook for Farmers on Farmer Business School (FBS),
  • Best farming practices/techniques to improve coffee productivity and cost reduction,
  • Intercropping booklet in English and Thai,
  • 2D infographic animation on FBS,
  • Cartoon handbook guide to FBS in English and Thai.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the project applied digital tools to achieve the project’s goals, particularly outreaching the knowledge on FBS, through a learning alliance with DOA under MOAC via several e-learning platforms for farmers and the general public in 800 learning centers at district levels across the country. Examples of platforms include:

In delivering all these products, the following factors are important for achievement:      

  • Engage partners with mutual goal
  • Build collaboration and partnerships with well-designed partners’ enablement framework at central and local levels
  • Develop co-benefit & target audience & aligned common goals and programme with partners
  • Foster consistent communication
  • Get partner buy in through:
    • Demonstrating value of the programme to partners
    • Enabling partners to join in parallel with capacity development
    • Provide partners with the knowledge/resources/materials they can use
    • Friendly mentoring and monitoring process

Voices of our partners OR What our partners say

Ms Sansanee Nitithamyong, Director of the Perennial Promotion Division, Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE)
During the visit of a coffee farmer ambassador on 30 March 2022, a participant in the Coffee+ project in Chumphon province, Ms Sansanee Nitithamyong, Director of the Perennial Promotion Division, Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE), said: “The Coffee Plus Thailand Project aims to support economic sustainability for the farmers ensure year-round income for the family. This can be expanded to other provinces from the project sites in Chumphon and Ranong to benefit other coffee smallholders”.

Mr. Surapong Pathiwattanaseri, Director of the Agricultural Information Group, the Center for Information and Communication Technology, and Director of Department of Agriculture (DOA)

Mr. Surapong Pathiwattanaseri, Director of the Agricultural Information Group, the Center for Information and Communication Technology, and Director of Department of Agriculture (DOA) said: “DOA is pleased to be working with the Coffee+ project (implemented by GIZ). Through this collaboration, DOA supports the dissemination of knowledge developed by GIZ, namely the Farmer Business School (FBS) course via three DOA media channels. These are :

  1. SmartBox: This features an application called “DOA Plant for U” or “Know the truth about plants with the Department of Agriculture”. This application can be viewed through the SmartBox and on smartphones, both Andriod and iOS, with the opening page featuring several icons including “FBS courses”.
  2. You Tube: The DOA has packed FBS courses into the official “DOA YouTube channel” under the name of “กรมวิชาการเกษตร DOA”. Clicking on this reveals all 13 chapters of the course.
  3. The official website of the Department of Agriculture: The main page of DOA’s website under the section “knowledge clip archive of the Department of Agriculture” on the topic “Knowledge Clip Smart Box Year 2021

Mr. Wiboon Rattanapornwong, the (former) Governor of Chumphon Province, who joined the workshop on “Strategy and Roadmap Development for Robusta Coffee of Chumphon Province” (supported by GIZ through the Coffee+ project), on November 20th, 2019 at Chumphon Provincial Office said: “The preparation of strategies and development plans for sustainable Robusta coffee in Chumphon Province  will determine the direction and development of Chumphon’s Robusta coffee in the whole system through proactive approaches including guidelines for driving the production, processing and marketing of Robusta coffee in the province towards sustainable success and in line with the National Coffee Strategic Plan. The strategic plan that is being prepared will be an opportunity and an important factor for the organisation and all related sectors to discuss and collaborate on setting a vision and mission so as to achieve the goals consistent with the current situation and keep up with future changes.” 

In October 2021, Ms Thitima Jaroonrat, Agricultural Extension Officer, Khirirat Nikhom District of the Agricultural Extension Office, Surat Thani Province, particiapted in an online training of trainer (TOT) course on Farmer Business School (FBS) conducted by GIZ (the Coffee+ project) in conjunction with Department of Agricultural Economics and Agri-Business, Faculty of Economics, Prince of Songkhla University (PSU), Hat Yai, Songkla Province. She said: “This is the first time I have attended the ToT-FBS training programme with the project and I can see that the knowledge gained from the project is useful for agricultural extension staff. The course enables us to share knowledge with farmers every time we go to the area. The FBS online training courses should be organised for young smart farmers so that they will have the opportunity to learn useful agricultural management skills,  enabling them to adopt practical knowledge to their farms effectively in the long run.” ■

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