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Assessing farmer needs

Our commitment: Roll out of rural development baseline assessments to understand the needs of farmers


Our commitment: Roll out of rural development baseline assessments to understand the needs of farmers


We use diagnostic tools such as our Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation (RISE) and the Rural Development Framework (RDF) to help us deliver a consistent approach to rural development and contribute to enhancing rural livelihoods, ensuring that our activities address real issues on the ground. These feed into existing rural development activities in the Farmer Connect programme, by further identifying areas for interventions and informing the work of these activities through their findings.


The RDF tool has a broad focus and includes relevant development drivers at farm and community level. It was designed in collaboration with key partners, including the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the Fair Labor Association, the Rainforest Alliance and Solidaridad. The RDF tool enables us to gain data, insights and information, including, for example, the Household Dietary Diversity Score and the Individual Dietary Diversity Score for nutrition, and the Months of Adequate Household Food Provisioning survey.

The RISE tool is more targeted at the farm level. Designed by the Swiss School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, RISE is used by numerous institutions such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), consultancy firms, universities, and agriculture and food industries. Since its first version in 2001, the tool has been periodically reviewed and optimised based on feedback from key research and development organisations such as the Swiss Centre of Excellence for Agricultural Research (Agroscope), the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the German Corporation for International Cooperation. RISE won the Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research award in 2008 and has been recognised by KTBL (the Board of Trustees for Technology and Construction in Agriculture) in Germany and by a number of scientific peer-review publications as a key tool for farm sustainability assessment. In 2014, the RISE experiences and findings contributed to the development of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s guidelines on Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems.

RISE is a proven tool for sustainability assessment in agriculture and helps make sustainable farming measurable, communicable and tangible to farmers. It uses a number of indicators including, but not limited to, economic viability, quality of life and natural resources such as water, soil and biodiversity.

Studies carried out through these tools, such as the Rurality initiative enable us to gain insights on farmers’ needs and challenges. We then use the insights and learning gained from our findings to shape the focus of Farmer Connect and programmes such as Dairy 4 You.

Our objective in 2016

By 2016: Put in place strategies (activities and targets) in priority locations to improve food availability and dietary diversity. Pilots running in three locations.

Our progress to date

The RDF has been mainly applied in our coffee supply chain since it was introduced. In 2016, we began to roll it out into other categories. We are using the insights gained through the RDF to help shape the focus of our plans and programmes by addressing the root causes of issues, such as poor nutrition and poverty among the communities from which we source.

RISE continues to be systematically integrated into our development approach. It is particularly suitable to obtain a holistic view of mixed farming systems, including crop and animal production. In 2016, RISE studies were mainly conducted in Mexico, Pakistan and Ukraine on a variety of production systems. Some studies have allowed us to gather insights for agricultural production potential, whereas others served to identify gaps for continuous improvement.

Our objective

By 2018: Establish a total of 18 baseline assessments in the sourcing locations of key importance to our business that show pronounced social need, to guide us in aligning our own activities with the priorities of farmers and local communities.


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