Programmes  I  Coffee  I  STEPS

  STEPS (Smallholder Technical Assistance and Empowerment Program through Sustainability), is an Indian public private partnership project of the NGOs Prakruthi and Solidaridad SSEA and the ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation. The STEPS project is an initiative to support and empower the marginal and small farmers engaged with coffee farming in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, India.

 
Objectives
  • Improve the coffee quality and productivity of smallholder coffee growers.
  • Facilitate market access of smallholder coffee farmers to certified and quality markets.
  • Establish and consolidate long term relationships between coffee trader company ECOM and its supply base of smallholder coffee farmers.
 
Strategy

End 2009, the project started with 3,000 smallholder coffee farmers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu with the main goal to connect them to the international coffee market. To empower the smallholder farmers the project supports the organisation of farmers in the form of Self Help Groups (SHGs) at grassroots’ level. A field team of Prakruthi and Ecom staff has been training the participating farmers for becoming UTZ Certified coffee producers. In addition to implementation of this standards system, the project activities included a quality and productivity improvement trajectory through agronomy and extension services support to the farmers.

 
Results
  • In 2010, 2,526 coffee farmers from 3 regions (Wayanad, Kattapana and Theni) have been organised in groups and are producing coffee according to the Utz Certified standards.
  • In 2011, ECOM started procuring Utz Certified coffee from farmers in the STEPS program, with a sustainability premium and a quality premium, resulting in an average surplus of 10% above the market price.

 


 
 
 
 
Bhagawanth Rao, 14, whose parents Soyam
Lachu and Lachu Bai cultivate about 20 acres of
dry land in Adilabad District,
 
   
 
 
 
 
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