NAMA Café » Costa Rican Coffee NAMA

The Costa Rican government collaborates with the private sector and international partners in order to develop concrete Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). The first NAMA in implementation is the Coffee NAMA (NAMA Café de Costa Rica).

Coffee production in Costa Rica is closely linked to the country´s national identity and provides employment to up to 150,000 people (during harvest). Coffee production represents up to 1,56% of Costa Rica’s national GHG emissions. To reduce the carbon footprint of the sector and maintain sustainable coffee production in the future, the government of Costa Rica plans to implement the NAMA in a participatory process between 2011 and 2021. Once successfully implemented, the initiative also seeks to lay the foundations for extending NAMAs to other agriculture systems.

The NAMA Café de Costa Rica is the first agricultural NAMA in the world currently being implemented and is an innovative collaboration effort between the public, private, financial and academic sectors. It aims to reduce GHG emissions and improve resource use efficiency at the level of both coffee plantations and coffee mills. The main actions to be implemented are:

  1. reducing the use of fertilizers,
  2. using water and energy in the coffee processing more efficiently,
  3. promoting financial mechanisms to support new agroforestry systems in coffee,
  4. undertaking audits at mills determining carbon footprint,
  5. developing strategies to promote differentiated coffee,
  6. undertaking feasibility and project design studies for the implementation of low-emission technologies.

These actions will create the first certified low-emission coffee worldwide and give Costa Rican coffee producers access to new markets. In 10 years, the nation-wide project aims to reach the entire coffee production area with a total investment of US$ 30 million. It also seeks to lay the groundwork for extending the initiative nationally and internationally to different agricultural systems and other sectors.

The overarching goal of the NAMA Café is to produce and process coffee in Costa Rica in a low-emission, sustainable fashion. This objective will be reached by strengthening the technical and institutional capacities at the country level, and at the same time facilitating the inclusion and coordination of the public and private sectors in national emission reduction initiatives.

At conclusion of the initiative, coffee growers and mill operators will possess the agronomic and technological knowledge to initiate change toward low-carbon coffee production. Furthermore, they will have access to attractive financing options for long-term eco-efficient investments, and will be connected to international buyers interested in sustainable, high-quality products. The concept is based on the implementation of technologies in the coffee sector that will increase competitiveness, mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases, and simultaneously generate social, economic and environmental co-benefits, including with regard to climate change adaptation.

To ensure success, the NAMA Café will include the entire value chain, from farmers to exporters, in a range of activities. It will also integrate ongoing governmental initiatives that strengthen the coffee sector, such as the Fideicomiso cafetalero, a trust that supports producers affected by coffee rust in renewing their plantations.

Another important government-driven program included in the NAMA Café is the renovation of the coffee plants. A coffee plant produces coffee for more than 40 years, but after 20 years its productivity declines. Increasing the productivity of the farm simultaneously lowers the emissions per kg of coffee produced. Therefore, coffee plant renovation helps to increase productivity, lower the emission intensity, and at the same time helps adapting to climate change through the introduction of new varieties.

Finally, trees in coffee cultivations have various positive effects: increasing biodiversity, diversifying the producers’ income, capturing carbon and protecting and conserving soil and the water resources. Agroforestry is already included in the country’s “payments for environmental services” (PES) system.